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The Deceleration Detection Flicker Test: A measure of experience?

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A new driving-related test is described, which provides a simple procedure to investigate a wide range of distraction and visual attention issues in driving. It requires participants to divide attention between multiple sources of potential hazard within a driving scene. The primary task requires a response when the perceived headway to a car ahead diminishes across a series of static images. Two experiments used different secondary tasks to demonstrate that central task performance is sensitive to driver experience, with highly experienced drivers better able to notice a change in apparent headway to the lead vehicle. Furthermore, background visual complexity, such as visually cluttered urban roads compared to sparser rural roads, exacerbates the experiential differences. The results suggest that the Deceleration Detection Flicker Test taps into a real driving-related skill and may provide a useful methodology for future investigation of a wide range of visual processing issues in driving research.
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Keywords: attention; driving; experience; headway

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Accident Research Unit, School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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