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Title: Exploring the underlying cognitive mechanisms of driver distraction
Author: Gunnell, Daniel
ISNI:       0000 0004 7223 9889
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis explores how naturalistic dual tasks may affect the key processes which underpin everyday tasks. With a focus on processes essential to safe driving, this thesis attempts to establish whether naturalistic conversation has an impact on: intentional time-based visual selection [2], memory in visual search [3], our ability to become alerted and maintain an alerted state, to effectively orient our attention and to executively control attention [5]. I next examine the effect of holding a conversation on another essential element of driving, our ability to make risky decisions [6]. Further, I investigate whether performing a different naturalistic task, following satellite navigation instructions, affects intentional time based visual selection and subsequent search processes [4]. Finally, I present a study which was conducted in collaboration with Dorset Police (UK) Driver Education Unit. This study reports the design and evaluation of a road safety intervention which was included within the driver awareness courses delivered by my collaborators. The intervention was effective in reducing drivers’ self-reported overconfidence in their observational abilities and the findings suggest that the intervention has the potential to have a positive impact on subsequent behaviour. The laboratory work of this thesis demonstrates that naturalistic conversation impacts upon the rate at which we are able to search through the world around us, negatively affects reaction times and limits the amount of information that may be taken in from a single fixation. In addition, I show that we take greater risks and are less likely to experience a physiological response to the consequences of our actions when conversing. These findings are discussed in the context of their theoretical implications and have wide reaching real world impacts on, for example, vehicle interface design, the use and design of in-vehicle technology and legislation focusing on distracted driving and driver education.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology