Training eye movement may reduce driver distraction

Jun 08, 2010

More than 16 people are killed and more than 1,300 people are injured each day in crashes involving a distracted driver, a phenomenon that could be reduced with the right application of motion information and appropriate eye movements.

Two studies conducted at Vanderbilt University and published in the Journal of Vision found that these factors can be beneficial to teaching people how to track objects without getting distracted or confused.

"The question is how to get people to see more, respond faster and be able to avoid errors that come from losing track of targets," explains author Adriane Seiffert, assistant professor of the Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University. "

In the first study, "Conflicting motion information impairs multiple object tracking," researchers used specialized displays to test specific hypotheses about how people use motion perception to track objects. The team of researchers expected that people would use both the speed and the direction of motion for accurate tracking. However, they found that people primarily used direction.

Participants in the second study, "Looking at the center of the targets helps multiple object tracking," were required to keep track of a subset of several identical in three different experiments. The first two experiments showed that participants commonly looked at the center of the group of the moving targets, while making repetitive glances to specific targets, a strategy called center-target switching. The third experiment measured the tracking accuracy of two different strategies, center-target switching and target-looking. The accuracy was defined by the percentage of trials in which all targets were correctly identified.

According to Seiffert, the results revealed that people are better at keeping track of multiple objects when they gaze at the center of the group of targets. Looking at the center improved tracking performance compared to using the target-looking strategy.

"This may be counter-intuitive, because looking at each of the targets themselves may seem like the best strategy," said Seiffert. "This could have important repercussions for how people are trained to drive. A better understanding of how the pattern of can reduce errors in tracking could help develop strategies for reducing crash risks."

Explore further: Teen catches math error in golden ratio at Boston museum

More information:

Related Stories

Car or pedestrian -- How we can follow objects with our eyes

Oct 02, 2008

When an object moves fast, we follow it with our eyes: our brain correspondingly calculates the speed of the object and adapts our eye movement to it. This in itself is an enormous achievement, yet our brain can do even more ...

Study discovers clues into how eyes search

Jun 17, 2009

Like the robots in the "Terminator" movies, our eyes move methodically through a scene when seeking out an object. If we don't immediately find what we're searching for, our attention leaves the already-scanned area behind ...

Eye Movements May Help Detect Autism

Sep 14, 2009

( -- Most parents will attest that infants convey their needs and interests in a variety of ways, many times without ever making a sound. For researchers in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, ...

Eyes on the prize

Dec 24, 2008

Dollar signs for eyes - cartoonists have been drawing them for years, and the artists, while whimsical, may have been onto something. According to new research from UC San Diego, areas of the brain responsible ...

Research to make spyplanes smarter, keep troops safe

Mar 09, 2007

University of Central Florida professors Niels da Vitoria Lobo and Mubarak Shah earned a grant this week to develop a way for small, unmanned spyplanes to "speak" to each other to provide better intelligence to troops on ...

Recommended for you

Senate, House look to update Bush-era education law

22 hours ago

Congress is making another run at rewriting the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law, even as the Obama administration urges changes it says would ensure that schools are held accountable when their ...

Lady, you're on the money

Jul 03, 2015

So far, women whose portraits appear on U.S. money have been a party of three. Excluding commemorative currency, only Sacagawea, Susan B. Anthony and Helen Keller appear on coins in general circulation, according ...

Another five things to know about meta-analysis

Jul 01, 2015

Last year I wrote a post of "5 Key Things to Know About Meta-Analysis". It was a great way to focus – but it was hard keeping to only 5. With meta-analyses booming, including many that are poorly done or ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.