Advertisement

Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics

, Volume 81, Issue 8, pp 2798–2813 | Cite as

Detection of brake lights while distracted: Separating peripheral vision from cognitive load

  • Benjamin WolfeEmail author
  • Ben D. Sawyer
  • Anna Kosovicheva
  • Bryan Reimer
  • Ruth Rosenholtz
Article

Abstract

Drivers rarely focus exclusively on driving, even with the best of intentions. They are distracted by passengers, navigation systems, smartphones, and driver assistance systems. Driving itself requires performing simultaneous tasks, including lane keeping, looking for signs, and avoiding pedestrians. The dangers of multitasking while driving, and efforts to combat it, often focus on the distraction itself, rather than on how a distracting task can change what the driver can perceive. Critically, some distracting tasks require the driver to look away from the road, which forces the driver to use peripheral vision to detect driving-relevant events. As a consequence, both looking away and being distracted may degrade driving performance. To assess the relative contributions of these factors, we conducted a laboratory experiment in which we separately varied cognitive load and point of gaze. Subjects performed a visual 0-back or 1-back task at one of four fixation locations superimposed on a real-world driving video, while simultaneously monitoring for brake lights in their lane of travel. Subjects were able to detect brake lights in all conditions, but once the eccentricity of the brake lights increased, they responded more slowly and missed more braking events. However, our cognitive load manipulation had minimal effects on detection performance, reaction times, or miss rates for brake lights. These results suggest that, for tasks that require the driver to look off-road, the decrements observed may be due to the need to use peripheral vision to monitor the road, rather than due to the distraction itself.

Keywords

Attention Scene perception Visual perception 

Notes

References

  1. Alberti, C. F., Horowitz, T., Bronstad, P. M., & Bowers, A. R. (2014). Visual attention measures predict pedestrian detection in central field loss: A pilot study. PLoS ONE, 9, e89381.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0089381 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Bian, Z., Kang, J., & Andersen, G. (2010). Changes in extent of spatial attention with increased workload in dual-task driving. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2185, 8–14.  https://doi.org/10.3141/2185-02 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brainard, D. H. (1997). The Psychophysics Toolbox. Spatial Vision, 10, 433–436.  https://doi.org/10.1163/156856897X00357 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Chan, H. S., & Courtney, A. J. (1998). Stimulus size scaling and foveal load as determinants of peripheral target detection. Ergonomics, 41, 1433–1452.  https://doi.org/10.1080/001401398186199 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Chiang, D. P., Brooks, A. M., & Weir, D. H. (2001). An experimental study of destination entry with an example automobile navigation system (Technical article 2001-01-0810). Warrendale, PA: SAE International.  https://doi.org/10.4271/2001-01-0810
  6. Cooper, J. M., Medeiros-Ward, N., & Strayer, D. L. (2013). The impact of eye movements and cognitive workload on lateral position variability in driving. Human Factors, 55, 1001–1014.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0018720813480177 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Crundall, D., Underwood, G., & Chapman, P. (2002). Attending to the peripheral world while driving. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 16, 459–475.  https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.806 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Drews, F. A., Yazdani, H., Godfrey, C. N., Cooper, J. M., & Strayer, D. L. (2009). Text messaging during simulated driving. Human Factors, 51, 762–770.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Edwards, C. J., Caird, J. K., & Chisholm, S. L. (2008). The effect of driving experience on change blindness at intersections: Decision accuracy and eye movement results. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, 52, 1243–1247.  https://doi.org/10.1177/154193120805201819 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gaspar, J. G., Ward, N., Neider, M. B., Crowell, J., Carbonari, R., Kaczmarski, H., … Loschky, L. C. (2016). Measuring the useful field of view during simulated driving with gaze-contingent displays. Human Factors, 58, 630–641.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0018720816642092 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Hyman, I. E., Boss, S. M., Wise, B. M., McKenzie, K. E., & Caggiano, J. M. (2010). Did you see the unicycling clown? Inattentional blindness while walking and talking on a cell phone. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 24, 597–607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ikeda, M., & Takeuchi, T. (1975). Influence of foveal load on the functional visual field. Perception and Psychophysics, 18, 255–260.  https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03199371 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kidd, D. G., Dobres, J., Reagan, I., Mehler, B., & Reimer, B. (2017). Considering visual–manual tasks performed during highway driving in the context of two different sets of guidelines for embedded in-vehicle electronic systems. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 47, 23–33.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trf.2017.04.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lamble, D., Laakso, M., & Summala, H. (1999). Detection thresholds in car following situations and peripheral vision: Implications for positioning of visually demanding in-car displays. Ergonomics, 42, 807–815.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lee, J., Mehler, B., Reimer, B., & Coughlin, J. F. (2016). Sensation seeking and drivers’ glance behavior while engaging in a secondary task. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, 60, 1864–1868.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1541931213601425 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mack, A., & Rock, I. (1998). Inattentional blindness. Cambridge: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mackworth, N. H. (1965). Visual noise causes tunnel vision. Psychonomic Science, 3, 67–68.  https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03343023 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Martens, M. H., & van Winsum, W. (2000). Measuring distraction: The peripheral detection task (Online article). Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2FbZZ7N
  19. McWilliams, T., Reimer, B., Mehler, B., & Dobres, J. (2015). Effects of age and smartphone experience on driver behavior during address entry: A comparison between a Samsung Galaxy and Apple iPhone. In AutomotiveUI ’15: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications (pp. 150–153). New York: ACM Press.  https://doi.org/10.1145/2799250.2799275 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Miura, T. (1986). Coping with situational demands: A study of eye movements and peripheral visual performance. In A. G. Gale, M. Freeman, C. Haslegrave, P. Smith, & S. Taylor (Eds.), Vision in vehicles I Vol. 2, pp. 205–216). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: North-Holland.Google Scholar
  21. Mourant, R. R., & Rockwell, T. H. (1972). Strategies of visual search by novice and experienced drivers. Human Factors, 14, 325–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Neisser, U., & Becklen, R. (1975). Selective looking: Attending to visually specified events. Cognitive Psychology, 7, 480–494.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0010-0285(75)90019-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nunes, L., & Recarte, M. A. (2002). Cognitive demands of hands-free-phone conversation while driving. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 5, 133–144.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S1369-8478(02)00012-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pelli, D. G. (1997). The VideoToolbox software for visual psychophysics: Transforming numbers into movies. Spatial Vision, 10, 437–442.  https://doi.org/10.1163/156856897X00366 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Reimer, B. (2009). Impact of cognitive task complexity on drivers’ visual tunneling. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2138, 13–19.  https://doi.org/10.3141/2138-03 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Reimer, B., Mehler, B., & Donmez, B. (2014). A study of young adults examining phone dialing while driving using a touchscreen versus a button style flip-phone. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 23, 57–68.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trf.2013.12.017 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Reimer, B., Mehler, B., Reagan, I., Kidd, D., & Dobres, J. (2016). Multi-modal demands of a smartphone used to place calls and enter addresses during highway driving relative to two embedded systems. Ergonomics, 59, 1565–1585.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00140139.2016.1154189 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  28. Reimer, B., Mehler, B., Wang, Y., & Coughlin, J. F. (2012). A field study on the impact of variations in short-term memory demands on drivers’ visual attention and driving performance across three age groups. Human Factors, 54, 454–468.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0018720812437274 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Rinalducci, E. J., Lassiter, D. L., MacArthur, M., Piersal, J., & Mitchell, L. K. (1989). Further experiments on the effects of foveal load on peripheral vision. Proceedings of the Human Factors Society Annual Meeting, 33, 1450–1453.  https://doi.org/10.1177/154193128903302019 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ringer, R. V., Throneburg, Z., Johnson, A. P., Kramer, A. F., & Loschky, L. C. (2016). Impairing the useful field of view in natural scenes: Tunnel vision versus general interference. Journal of Vision, 16(2), 7.  https://doi.org/10.1167/16.2.7 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Rock, I., Linnett, C. M., Grant, P., & Mack, A. (1992). Perception without attention: Results of a new method. Cognitive Psychology, 24, 502–534.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0010-0285(92)90017-v CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Rosenholtz, R. (2016). Capabilities and limitations of peripheral vision. Annual Review of Vision Science, 2, 437–457.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-vision-082114-035733 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Samost, A., Perlman, D., Domel, A. G., Reimer, B., Mehler, B., Mehler, A., … McWilliams, T. (2016). Comparing the relative impact of smartwatch and smartphone use while driving on workload, attention, and driving performance. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, 59, 1602–1606.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1541931215591347 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sawyer, B. D., Finomore, V. S., Calvo, A., & Hancock, P. A. (2014). Google Glass: A driver distraction cause or cure? Psychological Science, 56, 1307–1321.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0018720814555723 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Seaman, S., Lee, J., Seppelt, B., Angell, L., Mehler, B., & Reimer, B. (2017). It’s all in the timing: Using the attend algorithm to assess texting in the nest naturalistic driving database. In Driving Assessment Conference 2017 (pp. 403–409). Iowa City, Iowa: University of Iowa. 10.17077/drivingassessment.1665Google Scholar
  36. Simons, D. J., & Chabris, C. F. (1999). Gorillas in our midst: Sustained inattentional blindness for dynamic events. Perception, 28, 1059–1074.  https://doi.org/10.1068/p281059 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Simons, D. J., & Levin, D. T. (1997). Change blindness. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 1, 261–267.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S1364-6613(97)01080-2 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Strayer, D. L., Cooper, J. M., & Drews, F. A. (2004). What do drivers fail to see when conversing on a cell phone? Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, 48, 2213–2217.  https://doi.org/10.1037/e577202012-002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Strayer, D. L., Cooper, J. M., Turrill, J., Coleman, J. R., & Hopman, R. J. (2016). Talking to your car can drive you to distraction. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 1, 16.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s41235-016-0018-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Strayer, D. L., & Drews, F. A. (2007). Cell-phone-induced driver distraction. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16, 128–131.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8721.2007.00489.x
  41. Strayer, D. L., Drews, F. A., & Crouch, D. J. (2006). A comparison of the cell phone driver and the drunk driver. Human Factors, 48, 381–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Strayer, D. L., Drews, F. A., & Johnston, W. A. (2003). Cell phone-induced failures of visual attention during simulated driving. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 9, 23–32.  https://doi.org/10.1037/1076-898x.9.1.23 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Strayer, D. L., Turrill, J., Cooper, J. M., Coleman, J. R., Medeiros-Ward, N., & Biondi, F. (2015). Assessing cognitive distraction in the automobile. Human Factors, 57, 1300–1324.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0018720815575149 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Summala, H., Lamble, D., & Laakso, M. (1998). Driving experience and perception of the lead car’s braking when looking at in-car targets. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 30, 401–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Tsai, Y.-F., Viirre, E., Strychacz, C., Chase, B., & Jung, T.-P. (2007). Task performance and eye activity: Predicting behavior relating to cognitive workload. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, 78, B176–B185.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Tsimhoni, O., Smith, D., & Green, P. (2004). Address entry while driving: Speech recognition versus a touch-screen keyboard. Human Factors, 46, 600–610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. VanRullen, R., Reddy, L., & Koch, C. (2004). Visual search and dual tasks reveal two distinct attentional resources. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 16, 4–14.  https://doi.org/10.1162/089892904322755502 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Victor, T., Bärgman, J., Boda, C.-N., Dozza, M., Engström, J., Flannagan, C., … Markkula, G. (2015). Analysis of naturalistic driving study data: Safer glances, driver inattention, and crash risk (SHRP 2 Safety Project S08A). Washington DC: Transportation Review Board. 10.17226/22297Google Scholar
  49. Victor, T. W., Harbluk, J. L., & Engström, J. A. (2005). Sensitivity of eye-movement measures to in-vehicle task difficulty. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 8, 167–190.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trf.2005.04.014 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Watson, J. M., & Strayer, D. L. (2010). Supertaskers: Profiles in extraordinary multitasking ability. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 17, 479–485.  https://doi.org/10.3758/PBR.17.4.479 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wetzels, R., Matzke, D., Lee, M. D., Rouder, J. N., Iverson, G. J., & Wagenmakers, E.-J. (2011). Statistical evidence in experimental psychology: An empirical comparison using 855 t tests. Psychological Science, 6, 291–298.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691611406923 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wickens, C. D. (2002). Multiple resources and performance prediction. Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science, 3, 159–177.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14639220210123806 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Williams, L. J. (1985). Tunnel vision induced by a foveal load manipulation. Human Factors, 27, 221–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Williams, L. J. (1989). Foveal load affects the functional field of view. Human Performance, 2, 1–28.  https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327043hup0201_1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Williams, L. J. (2009). Peripheral target recognition and visual field narrowing in aviators and nonaviators. International Journal of Aviation Psychology, 5, 215–232.  https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327108ijap0502_6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wolfe, B., Dobres, J., Rosenholtz, R., & Reimer, B. (2017). More than the useful field: Considering peripheral vision in driving. Applied Ergonomics, 65, 316–325.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apergo.2017.07.009 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Yoshitsugu, N., Ito, T., & Asoh, T. (2000). JAMA’s safety guideline on in-vehicle display systems (the study of monitor location of in-vehicle). Paper presented at the World Congress on Intelligent Systems, Turin, Italy. Retrieved from https://trid.trb.org/view/726584
  58. Young, K., & Regan, M. (2007). Driver distraction: A review of the literature. In I. J. Faulks, M. Regan, M. Stevenson, J. Brown, A. Porter, & I. D. Irwin (Eds.), Distracted driving (pp. 379–405). Sydney, NSW: Australian College of Road Safety.Google Scholar
  59. Young, R. (2012). Cognitive distraction while driving: A critical review of definitions and prevalence in crashes. SAE International Journal of Passenger Cars: Electronic and Electrical Systems, 5, 326–342.  https://doi.org/10.4271/2012-01-0967 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Zhao, N., Chen, W., Xuan, Y., Mehler, B., Reimer, B., & Fu, X. (2014). Drivers“ and non-drivers” performance in a change detection task with static driving scenes: Is there a benefit of experience? Ergonomics, 57, 998–1007.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00140139.2014.909952 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin Wolfe
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ben D. Sawyer
    • 2
    • 3
  • Anna Kosovicheva
    • 4
  • Bryan Reimer
    • 2
  • Ruth Rosenholtz
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence LaboratoryMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.AgeLabMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Department of Industrial EngineeringUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Brain and Cognitive SciencesMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations