Development of visual information sampling in road traffic situations



Publication Details

Caldara, J. G. & Miellet, S. R. (2016). Development of visual information sampling in road traffic situations. 39th European Conference on Visual Perception


Each year 270000 pedestrians die of road traffic and millions are injured (WHO, 2011). Despite children being largely over-represented in casualties, little is known about the perceptual processes used by children for judgments typically made as a pedestrian. In the present study, we addressed two crucial questions: 1- In road-crossing situations, are children more influenced than adults by specific social and visual saliency features, 2- how does this influence change with age?We recorded the eye-movements of more than 100 children from 5 to 14 years-old and 30 adults while they were watching road-traffic videos on screen and performing a road-crossing decision task. Linear-mixed models showed a strong age effect on crossing decisions and clustering techniques isolated 5-9 years-old children as more likely to cross the road in short gaps. Young children also showed difficulties in inhibiting reflexive orientation responses towards traffic irrelevant distractors. Statistical mapping of eye-movements identified the social and visual saliency features leading to the strongest orientation responses. Our data offer a novel fine-grained description of the visuospatial processes of children's engaged in road-traffic situations. These findings have a profound impact on the understanding of the visual system and road safety issues.

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