PhD Student (graduated 2016)
I was a PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Julie Harris who is interested in driving behaviour; specifically our perception and allocation of visual attention when we drive. While there has been considerable research into driving skill, hazard perception and how it relates to accident involvement, these studies typically involve participants watching movies of driving situations and responding to developing hazards. Indeed the UK driving test now includes this approach for assessing hazard perception abilities. However, simply watching driving scenarios may not accurately measure hazard perception abilities for drivers. Perceptual processes change when action is involved in a task compared to passive viewing situations and driving a vehicle introduces attentional limitations for concurrent tasks. On the basis of these two limitations, I argue that it is vital to study hazard perception in the context of an ecologically valid driving situation.
The aim of my PhD was to examine the differences in spatiotemporal deployment of attention when actively driving and when passively viewing driving scenes. In addition I aim to investigate the differences in eye-movements across experience groups and ultimately aim, using eye-movement and other methods such as commentary driving, to investigate ways in which individuals can improve in hazard perception based tasks.