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Effects of a target movement direction cue on head-tracking performance

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A review of the literature has shown that most investigations of head-tracking performance have used symmetrically shaped targets. This paper identifies a problem in using circular targets to represent the movement of complex targets (i.e. targets giving directional cues). Two experiments investigated the effects of a target direction cue on head-tracking performance. In the first experiment, practice did not improve performance when tracking either with or without a 'look-ahead trace' showing all target positions 160 ms into the future. A second experiment utilized a 'look-ahead trace' showing target positions with eight different lead-times (0-560 ms). With lead-times of 160 ms or more, significant improvements in tracking performance and subjective difficulty ratings were obtained. Tracking responses were also significantly affected. The results suggest caution when performance data obtained with a symmetrical target are generalized to predict tracking performance with a real target giving cues to the direction of movement. The look-ahead trace offers a systematic means of bridging the gap between a symmetrical target and a real target having direction of movement cues.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2000

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