Visual Cognition Lab

James E. Hoffman


Current Research

Multiple Object Tracking


Multiple object tracking (MOT) is involved in a number of everyday activities such as team sports and driving. Surprisingly, research indicates that people can only accurately track up to about four objects. Tran and Hoffman (in press), funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, recently showed that this tracking limitation results from a limited supply of attention that is divided among the tracked objects. Failures of tracking often occur when visual attention is captured by irrelevant, salient visual objects or when dual-task demands exceed attentional capacity.


EIB refers to impaired awareness of visual information appearing soon after presentation of a task-irrelevant, emotional picture (e.g., a threatening animal, a bloody face, etc.). Together with colleagues at the University of New South Wales in Australia, the Hoffman lab showed that this impaired awareness is related to brain activity in visual areas of the brain that occurs approximately a quarter of a second after presentation of the emotional picture. We are continuing to explore the mechanisms responsible for this fascinating  phenomenon using ERP and behavioral methods.