Knowing what is where is an essential and complex component of human perception. This ability refers to the concept of Situation Awareness (SA). The underlying mechanisms for this ability show parallels to the tracking of a set of identical objects moving on a screen, a theory known as Multiple Object Tracking (MOT) (Pylyshyn & Storm, 1988). This theory was useful for investigating the fundamental factors of visual tracking, but lacked a connection to real-world scenarios. In an attempt to bridge that gap, Oksama and Hyönä (2008) created the Model of Multiple Identity Tracking (MOMIT), which includes unique identities for each object being tracked and posits a combination of peripheral and focal perception in tracking, as opposed to strictly peripheral in the MOT paradigm. This model was then applied to air traffic control (ATC) displays to create a predictive utility for analyzing controllers’ performance (Hope, Rantanen, & Oksama, 2010). However, the call sign objects used in the MIT application study (Hope et al., 2010) only required the observer to remember a single letter from the object’s identity, negating the need to memorize the entire identity. Using a similar structure of typical ATC call signs (6-7 character alphanumeric strings), the experiment investigated the study time duration necessary to acquire and retain the identity and location information of complex objects, and in effect, form a level 1 SA. Furthermore, the accuracy of the location-identity bindings formed in level 1 SA are also investigated for various object set sizes (4, 8, or 12 objects). The object array size of 4 had the highest accuracy. As the object set size increased from 4 objects to 12 objects, the error in location information and identity information increased. Finally, it was found that approximately 3 complex ATC-like objects were retained by participants in all conditions.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Perception--Testing; Perception--Mathematical models; Situational awareness

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Experimental Psychology (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Psychology (CLA)


Esa Rantanen

Advisor/Committee Member

Andrew Herbert

Advisor/Committee Member

Lauri Oksama


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at BF311 .N25 2016


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes