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Reduced sensitivity to visual looming inflates the risk posed by speeding vehicles when children try to cross the road

Wann, John, Poulter, Damian and Purcell, Catherine 2011. Reduced sensitivity to visual looming inflates the risk posed by speeding vehicles when children try to cross the road. Psychological Science 22 (4) , pp. 429-434. 10.1177/0956797611400917

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Abstract

Almost all locomotor animals respond to visual looming or to discrete changes in optical size. The need to detect and process looming remains critically important for humans in everyday life. Road traffic statistics confirm that children up to 15 years old are overrepresented in pedestrian casualties. We demonstrate that, for a given pedestrian crossing time, vehicles traveling faster loom less than slower vehicles, which creates a dangerous illusion in which faster vehicles may be perceived as not approaching. Our results from perceptual tests of looming thresholds show strong developmental trends in sensitivity, such that children may not be able to detect vehicles approaching at speeds in excess of 20 mph. This creates a risk of injudicious road crossing in urban settings when traffic speeds are higher than 20 mph. The risk is exacerbated because vehicles moving faster than this speed are more likely to result in pedestrian fatalities.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Publisher: SAGE Publications (UK and US) / Association for Psychological Science
ISSN: 0956-7976
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 September 2018
Date of Acceptance: 9 March 2011
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2018 15:34
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/115041

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