An object-tracking model that combines position and speed explains spatial and temporal responses in a timing task

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Category: Data

Description: Many tasks require synchronizing our actions with particular moments along the path of moving targets. However, it is controversial whether we base these actions on spatial or temporal information, and whether using either can enhance our performance. We addressed these questions with a coincidence timing task. A target varying in speed and motion duration approached a goal. Participants stopped the target and were rewarded according to its proximity to the goal. Results showed larger reward for responses temporally (rather than spatially) equidistant to the goal across speeds, and this pattern was promoted by longer motion durations. We used a Kalman filter to simulate time and space-based responses, where modeled speed uncertainty depended on motion duration and positional uncertainty on target speed. The comparison between simulated and observed responses revealed that a single position-tracking mechanism could account for both spatial and temporal patterns, providing a unified computational explanation

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