Charlton, S.G. & Starkey, N.J. (2013). Driving on familiar roads: Automaticity and inattention blindness. Driving on familiar roads: Automaticity and inattention blindness, 19, 121-133.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/7619
This paper describes our research into the processes that govern driver attention and behavior in familiar, well-practiced situations. The experiment examined the effects of extended practice on inattention blindness and detection of changes to the driving environment in a high-fidelity driving simulator. Participants were paid to drive a simulated road regularly over 3 months of testing. A range of measures, including detection task performance and driving performance, were collected over the course of 20 sessions. Performance from a yoked Control Group who experienced the same road scenarios in a single session was also measured. The data showed changes in what drivers reported noticing indicative of inattention blindness, and declining ratings of mental demand suggesting that many participants were “driving without awareness”. Extended practice also resulted in increased sensitivity for detecting changes to road features associated with vehicle guidance and improved performance on an embedded vehicle detection task (detection of a specific vehicle type). The data provide new light on a “tandem model” of driver behavior that includes both explicit and implicit processes involved in driving performance. The findings also suggest reasons drivers are most likely to crash at locations very near their homes.