Motion information is sometimes used as an aid to the visual tracking of objects
In everyday life, observers often need to visually track moving objects. Currently, there is a debate as to whether observers utilize motion information in doing this or whether they rely purely on positional information (e.g., frame-by-frame locations). In our experiments, we had observers keep track of a subset of moving objects. In one condition, the objects moved in straight lines and their future positions were thus predictable. In a second condition, the objects changed directions randomly. Across three experiments, tracking performance was better in the predictable condition, suggesting that observers can use motion to help them track objects, at least when tracking just two. When tracking four objects, performance was not different between the two conditions. We discuss these findings in relation to several theories of object tracking.