Tracking is one important perceptual motor skill that enters in quite a number of industrial as well as military operations. It has received a great amount of attention from the engineering psychologists. Here the motor behaviour is involved with the guidance, aiming, and pointing to either a part of an individual’s body or some object like for example, a gun. A great range of activities in both industrial and of the mundane life falls under this category.
Steering on a road, aiming a gun,viewing a ball in flight in cricket or a football game and even guiding a spoon to mouth (which is the target) may be regarded as examples of tracking.
Whatsoever in military operations, the ones who use guns or bombs are actually involved in the tracking operations? There has been extensive research on the tracking.This is aimed with a view to understand the respective perceptual and motor factors which enter into the skill, for the development of an efficient man-machine system.The latter can take care of the specified tracking operations efficiently. Hence it is evident how important the various psychometric test as well as perceptual motor skill tests are, in selecting a person in industrial sector as well as in military.
Research work done so far has indicated that in most such tracking operations, the man as an operator forms the integral part of the greater dynamic system. This is achieved by involving inputs from the environment (which is usually obtained by means of some sort of display device), and reaching to it in an appropriate way, by regulating those of the available control devices. The response might result in some consequence or output which in turn might provide the operator some sort of idea, generally through the display device again concerning the quantity of error involved in his response.
As for example in auto vehicle driving the operation of keeping a car on its track can be managed by the steering action of the steering wheel and the tyre dynamics. In the former case those two serves as an input. The feedback which is obtained by the driver’s actual position on the road is again conveyed to him viawindshield display. Hence, he might compare with his internal standard of correct driving,(like for instance he will always want to be within the limits of the lane). Several enquiries into the various factors involved in the man machine system of this kind has given us a lot of information concerned with the process of devising the most efficient instruments involved in different kinds of tracking operations.
However the perceptual motor operations which form such an important feature of the industrial work, cannot be fully understood without taking into account their mental correlates.The psychologists who look up on human mind as an information processor have greatly contributed an immense deal, to our understanding of these factors and their applications, in the numerous situations in which human being performs.