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Working Memory Capacity, Visual Attention and Hazard Perception in Driving

Wood, G and Hartley, G and Furley, P and Wilson, MR (2016) Working Memory Capacity, Visual Attention and Hazard Perception in Driving. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. ISSN 2211-3681 (In Press)

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Abstract

In two experiments we explored the influence of individual differences in working memory capacity (WMC) on hazard perception performance in a simulated driving task. In Experiment 1, we examined the relationship between WMC and hazard perception performance under control and dual task conditions, and self-reported driving behavior. Results revealed significant relationships between WMC, hazard perception performance and self-reported driving behavior. Participants lower in WMC performed poorer in dual task conditions and reported more instances of inattention when driving. In Experiment 2 we explored the gaze behavior of low and high WMC individuals whilst completing the hazard perception test under control and dual task conditions. Results revealed that low-WMC individuals had poorer hazard perception performance under dual task conditions and these performance decrements were mirrored in reductions in mean fixation durations on the hazard. Interestingly, pupillary dilation appears to discriminate between low- and high-WMC individuals and might be a useful index of attention for future research.

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