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PSY 355 Psychology & Media in the Digital Age

This page was last modified on March 4, 2023

Class 14: The Neuropsychology of Media • II  The Automobile as Digital Device (Outline)

Lines of code in jet, PC, &

  • The cost of new cars are increasingly the result of the installed electronics:
Cost of electronics in new cars

  • Of course, beginning in March 2020 because of the pandemic and the problem of supply chain delays, the American automobile manufacturers have had major difficulties in obtaining the computer chips necessary for their vehicles. (MotorTrend Magazine)

Global Chip Shortage (Automotive)
  • Other Earlier Technologies
    • 1st Car Radios (all AM) • 1930s
    • 1st FM  Radios • 1950s
    • Transistors in the 1950s & 1960s reduce the price of radios
    • 8-Track tape players (1965) and built-in cassette tape players by the 1970s
    • CD players by mid-1980s

Distracted Driving: The Automobile as Media Setting

2023 Honda Civic Dashboard2023 Honda Civic • Best Affordable Compact Car (USNWR)
MSRP of $25,050-43,295
- 7-Inch Color Touch-Screen with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ Compatibility
- Bluetooth® streaming audio
- Steering-wheel-mounted audio & driving controls. All Civic steering wheels have two sets of controls. The left-hand set operates the audio system and 7-inch Driver Information Interface (DII). The Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® and the navigation system voice-recognition button are on the left as well. The right-hand set operates the Lane Keeping Assist System11 (LKAS) Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow
- Bose Premium Sound System
-All systems also provide Speed-Sensitive Volume Compensation (SVC); as the car speeds up and exterior noise increases, the audio system automatically raises the music’s volume, and then lowers it as the car slows down.
- Adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and automatic stop system.

2023 Kia Telluride Dashboard2023 Kia Telluride • Best Midsize SUV (USNWR)
 MSRP = $35,690-52,785
- 12.3-inch Touchscreen Display w/ Navigation, Kia Connect & SiriusXM® Satellite Radio
- Rear-View Monitor w/ Dynamic Parking Guidance
- Apple CarPlay® & Android Auto™
- Bluetooth® Wireless Technology w/ Multi-Device Connectivity
- Wi-Fi Hotspot

- Smart Cruise Control w/ Stop & Go
- USB-C Fast Charging Ports, 5

- Rear seat entertainment (RSE) center:Two monitors and two remotes. Provides USB ports. New available APP's: Pinkfong (For Kids), News (CNN, Fox News), Games. RSE currently does not support Apple CarPlay or AirPlay. [Cost: an additional $1400]

The contemporary automobile (car, wagon, SUV) serves as a hybrid media form which provides
  • a means of transportation
  • an "infotainment" or "in car entertainment" (ICE) media center with multiple entertainment components (CD, MP3 players, BluTooth, GPS navigation, DVD, game consoles, WiFi, multiple driving controls)
Navigation in Cars

[GPS Satellites circling Earth]GPS = Global Positioning System which is "a space-based satellite navigation system that provides location & time information in all weather conditions, anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites" {W}

What3WordsNEW: What3Words.com

  • What3words divides the world into a grid of 57 trillion 3-by-3-metre squares, each of which has a three-word address. The addresses are available in forty-seven languages. [Wikipedia]
  • Each what3words language uses a list of 25,000 words (40,000 in English, as it covers sea as well as land). The lists are manually checked to remove homophones and offensive words. [Wikipedia]

Grewen Hall 207 What3Words Address

W3W Automotive

Traffic Fatalities & Improving Car Safety

US Vehicle Fatalities 1922-2017

Driving Fatalities 2003-2021
  • Death in 2019 (36,355) was down 1.2% from 2018 (N = 36,858) and 3.3% from 2017 (N = 37,473)
  • BUT, death in 2021 (42,915) is an 17.6% increase over 2019
  • There were 4.8 million injuries in motor vehicle accidents in 2020 (up from 4.2 million in 2019)
  • Traffic accidents, fatalities, and injuries cost a total of ~ $474 billion in the United State
  • Data for 2022 are not yet available.

Distracted drivingDistracted Driving: Measuring the Effects

[Cognitive workload et al.]

Past research has shown
  • Drivers who are using a cell phone tend to experience "inattention blindness"
  • Drivers engaged in a second cognitive task exhibit a form of "tunnel vision"

Experimental Set-up Tasks
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)

DRT Device    Simulator
Experiment 1: Laboratory Control (Baseline)

Experiment 2: Driving Simulator

Experiment 3: Instrumented Vehicle (in Real Life)

Some Results

The first diagram shows the time delay for  the event-related potential's P300 brain wave: a measure of cognitive difficulty and attentional loss.
P300 Latency

Simulator Results

Glances at Hazards

 Cognitive Distraction Scale

Some Other Research Findings

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?

This page was first posted on 2/27/14