PSY 355 Psychology & Media in the Digital Age
This page was last modified on Feb 28, 2017
The Neuropsychology of Media • II (Outline)
Distracted Driving: The Automobile as Media Setting
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MSRP of $18,445
2014 Subaru • Subaru Outback • Best Wagon (USNWR)
MSRP ca. $30,000
The contemporary automobile (car, wagon, SUV) serves as a hybrid media form which provides
- a means of transportation
- an "infotainment" or "in car entertainment" media center
Elements of in car entertainment might include
- Sound: AM/FM/satellite radio; CD & MP3 players; cassette player; telephone; BluTooth wireless or audio input jack connections for cell phones, iPads, etc.; text-to-audio voice-activated texting or messaging system
- Vision: GPS* navigation; in-dash information center (speed, direction, gas usage...); DVD; game consoles;
- WiFi connectivity for passenger Internet use
- Driving controls: turn signals, wiper controls, cruise controls, light controls (lo-hi beam); OnStar emergency, security, navigation, and other passenger safety systems
* GPS = Global Positioning System
Preliminary data for 2016 (National Safety Council)
- Deaths in 2016 (N = 40,200) up by 6.5% from 2015 (N = 37,757)
- Fatalities per 100K in 2016 was 12.40 and the fatalities per 100 million vmt = 1.25
- Earlier changes: 2013 deaths: 35,386; 2014 deaths: 35,398 deaths (no change from 2013); 2015 deaths 37,757 (6.7% increase from 2014);
Note: NSC numbers are higher than NTSA because NSC counts traffic/non-traffic deaths within a year of accident, but NTSA counts only traffic deaths within 30 days of accident
Distracted Driving: Measuring the Effects
- Sources of distraction in driving (Stayer et al. 2011) include
- Visual Processing Competition: Driver doesn't look at road in order to look at dash-board or other device
- Manual Interference: Driver takes hands off wheel in order to manipulate a device
- Cognitive Distraction: Driver withdraws attention from processing road- and safety-related information in order to accomplish another cognitive task.
Past research has shown
- "inattention blindness"
- Similarly cell phone-using drivers show alterations in brain wave activity in the form of Event-Related Brain Potentials (ERPs).
- "tunnel vision"
1. None: Simple driving, no other task
2. Radio: Driving while listening to a radio
3. BookOnTape: Driving while listening to a book on tape
4. Passenger: Driving while holding 10 min. conversation with passenger
5. Handheld: Driving while holding 10 min. conversation on a hand-held cell phone
6. HandsFree: Driving while holding 10 min. conversation with a hands-free cell phone
7. Speech-Text: Driving while interacting with a speech-to-text interfaced email system
8. OSPAN: Driving while performing auditory version of the OSPAN mental processing tasks (math & memorization)
Experiment 1: Laboratory Control (Baseline)Some Results
Experiment 2: Driving Simulator
- In front of a computer without actually driving, but performing the 8 tasks
Experiment 3: Instrumented Vehicle (in Real Life)
- In a realistic car simulator performing the 8 tasks
- Driving a 2.75 mile loop in a suburban section of Salt Lake City Utah while performing the 8 tasks. The driver was accompanied by both a researcher and an assistant who had a redundant set of brakes.
ABC Nightline: Caught On Tape: Teen Drivers Moments Before a Crash
(AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety YouTube: 6'45" Mar, 2015)
==> We will watch this video and then break into smaller groups to discuss the following questions?
- What are the different sources of distraction you have noted in driving (beyond texting itself)
- What have you seen happening, e.g., with your parents, your friends, others?
- Is there anything that you think could convince people to drive in a safer way?