Multiple object tracking in people with williams syndrome and in normally developing children

Kirsten O'Hearn, Barbara Landau, James E. Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Multiple object tracking is hypothesized to utilize visual indexes, which may provide rapid, parallel access to a limited number of visual objects, thereby supporting a variety of spatial tasks. We examined whether faulty indexing might play a role in the severe visuospatial deficits found in Williams syndrome. We asked observers to track from one to four targets in a display of eight identical objects. Objects remained stationary (static condition) or moved randomly and independently (moving condition) for 6 s, after which observers pointed to the objects they thought were targets. People with Williams syndrome were impaired in the moving condition, but not the static condition, compared with mental-age-matched control participants. Normal children who were younger than the mental-age-matched control children did not show the same profile as individuals with Williams syndrome, which suggests that the difference between the tasks in Williams syndrome did not reflect simple developmental immaturity. Error analysis revealed that all groups had "slippery" indexes, falsely identifying target neighbors, and further suggested that people with Williams syndrome deploy fewer indexes than do people without this disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-912
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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