Multiple Identity Tracking (MIT) is a paradigm in which individuals track the location and identity of moving objects in the environment. The first goal of the present study was to determine if individuals are able to extrapolate the position of moving objects and their identities while objects are occluded. There is conflicting research on the source of a decline in tracking ability. Either the amount of time an object is occluded for, or the distance an object moved during an occlusion (i.e., displaced) could equate to a decrease in performance. The present study aimed to evaluate which variable (occlusion time or object displacement) is more detrimental to performance. The second goal of the present study aimed to address whether individuals are able to complete a secondary task while tracking objects. The secondary task was timed with the goal of interfering with the maintenance rehearsal of the moving objects. By doing so, the present study evaluated tracking ability through an “occlusion” that involves performing a task, as many realistic occlusions occur. Twenty-five participants tracked five moving objects with unique identities over 100 trials. Response time and number of objects checked were recorded. The results indicated that participants could keep track of the objects through an occlusion with 59% accuracy. There was a difference in response time performance between slow moving and fast moving objects when they were occluded for 2 seconds, but not 4 seconds. The results suggest that tracking multiple moving objects and their identities while performing to a secondary task during an occlusion is possible, without detriment to performance in a secondary task for most individuals. Additionally, we observed a task switching cost, with participants taking longer to find the first object compared to subsequent objects.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Prediction (Psychology); Human information processing; Motion perception (Vision); Situational awareness; Attention; Optical pattern recognition

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Experimental Psychology (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Psychology (CLA)


Esa Rantanen

Advisor/Committee Member

Eric E. Geiselman

Advisor/Committee Member

Paul R. Havig II


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes