Organisation: University of Sussex & Open University
Date uploaded: 5th February 2019
Date published/launched: September 2017
• Dual taskers use enduring attentional sets when resources are shared between tasks.
• Reliance on attentional set contributes to decreased detection of unexpected events.
• Distraction leads to longer reaction times for unexpected events.
The impact of attentional set and situation awareness on event detection and reaction times was investigated in two simulated driving experiments.Experiment 1: 30 participants viewed and reacted to 30 driving films containing unexpected items which were either driving congruent or incongruent. Group 1 completed the task without distraction; group 2 completed a concurrent conversation task.
Experiment 2: 30 participants viewed and reacted to 20 driving films which contained unexpected yet driving relevant events. Half of the participants completed the task without distraction and half completed a concurrent conversation task.
Measures of event detection and reaction time were recorded for both experiments. Compared to undistracted participants, dual-taskers reacted to fewer unexpected events; recorded longer reaction times; and reacted to fewer incongruent and peripheral events, suggesting an enduring attentional set for driving.
Dual tasking drivers may adopt a strategy of over-reliance on schema-driven processing when attention is shared between tasks.
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