September 2017
Volume 17, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2017
Attentional blink during simulated driving
Author Affiliations
  • Bertrand Sager
    Psychology, Simon Fraser University
  • Aaron Richardson
    Psychology, Simon Fraser University
  • Carley Wood
    Psychology, Simon Fraser University
  • Elisabeth Kreykenbohm
    Psychology, Simon Fraser University
  • Thomas Spalek
    Psychology, Simon Fraser University
Journal of Vision August 2017, Vol.17, 1203. doi:10.1167/17.10.1203
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      Bertrand Sager, Aaron Richardson, Carley Wood, Elisabeth Kreykenbohm, Thomas Spalek; Attentional blink during simulated driving. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):1203. doi: 10.1167/17.10.1203.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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The attentional blink (AB) is the finding that identification of the second of two sequentially presented targets (T1, T2) is impaired if they occur within about 500ms of each other. Although hundreds of AB studies have been conducted over the last 25 years, one criticism that has been leveled at AB research is that it has no real-world applicability. In the present work, we examine the AB within the context of driving a car. Three experiments were conducted in a simulator and, in all three, impairments consistent with the AB were found. In Experiment 1, participants followed a lead vehicle and a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) of digits, with two letters inserted in the stream, were presented on the back of that lead vehicle. Accuracy of identification of the T2 letter showed the typical AB pattern (i.e., impairment when presented 300ms after T1, and good performance when the separation was 700ms). In Experiment 2, the RSVP contained only a single target for identification, and T2 consisted of a response to the lead vehicle braking. RTs to press the break again showed a typical AB pattern, with improved (faster) responses as the separation between the two targets increased. In Experiment 3, drivers followed a lead car on a busy expressway and were told to drive as normally as possible while following that vehicle. At random intervals the lead vehicle would apply its brakes, and again RT to initiate a braking response was measured. Critically, cars in the adjacent lanes would occasionally engage their turn signal to indicate that they wanted to make a lane change. When that turn indicator was presented shortly before the lead vehicle applied its brakes, the participants' RT was impaired. Therefore, the results of the present work suggest that the AB does have real-world applications.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017


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