Effect of depth information on multiple-object tracking in three dimensions: A probabilistic perspective

James R.H. Cooke, Arjan C. ter Horst, R.J. van Beers, W. Pieter Medendorp

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Abstract

Many daily situations require us to track multiple objects and people. This ability has traditionally been investigated in observers tracking objects in a plane. This simplification of reality does not address how observers track objects when targets move in three dimensions. Here, we study how observers track multiple objects in 2D and 3D while manipulating the average speed of the objects and the average distance between them. We show that perfor- mance declines as speed increases and distance decreases and that overall tracking accu- racy is always higher in 3D than in 2D. The effects of distance and dimensionality interact to produce a more than additive improvement in performance during tracking in 3D compared to 2D. We propose an ideal observer model that uses the object dynamics and noisy obser- vations to track the objects. This model provides a good fit to the data and explains the key findings of our experiment as originating from improved inference of object identity by adding the depth dimension.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1005554
JournalPLoS Computational Biology
Volume13
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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