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Effects of experience and processing demands on visual information acquisition in drivers

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This study investigated the differences between novices and experienced drivers in their distribution of visual attention under different levels of cognitive load imposed by different types of road, and as reflected in their visual search strategies. The task involved a 20-min drive on various roads while the drivers' eye movements were recorded. The measures taken included fixation durations, as an indicator of the time taken to assimilate fixated objects, and the variance of fixation co-ordinates to describe the spread of search in both the horizontal and vertical axes. Differences were found between novices and experienced drivers according to the type of road being driven. The results suggested that experienced drivers select visual strategies according to the complexity of the roadway, and that the strategies of novices are too inflexible to meet changing demands.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 1998

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