chapter  1
17 Pages

Perception and Attention in Driving

WithGraham Hole

Many accidents seem to involve "perceptual" errors. Every year in the UK, a contributory factor in about 45% of reported road accidents is that a driver or rider "failed to look properly". Another way in which the brain copes with information overload is by processing visual information within only a restricted range of what is potentially available. Human information-processing seems to rely heavily on "schemas". Sensory conspicuity is based more on "data-driven", "bottom-up" processing; cognitive conspicuity relies more on conceptually driven, "top-down" processing. One way to try to find out what drivers are attending to is to record their eye movements. This method assumes that what a driver is looking at is what he or she is attending to. Eye-movement recording studies demonstrate that fixation patterns are determined by an interplay of both external and internal factors. The evidence for any benefits of conspicuity aids is actually quite weak.