Spatial asymmetries in viewing and remembering realistic road scenes: hazard perception
(2016) Spatial asymmetries in viewing and remembering realistic road scenes: hazard perception, no. 45.
With the aim of studying lateralized bias in remembering images of the realistic road scenes depending on whether the hazards (cars or vulnerable road users, such as bicycles and motorbikes) are on the left or right of the image, this present study combined measuring of reaction time and accuracy for remembered images in a memory test. Memory for road scenes task was designed by the current researchers to investigate if real-life spatial asymmetries in attention and memory manifest in driving context. Based on the activation- orientation hypothesis and leftward bias in mental representations of spatial judgement, the results of the current study did not provide evidence that more attended images were remembered better; however, participants were faster to correctly recognise scenes containing vulnerable road users when they appeared on the right compared to when they appeared on the left of the street scene. On the contrary, the participants were faster to recognise scenes containing cars rather vulnerable road users when they appeared on the left. The current results lend support to existing literature on the subject of attention in driving behaviour, suggesting that larger hazards present in the medial areas of visual field recruit more attentional resources, leading to the limited perception of vulnerable road users in the periphery. In light of current results, future research should focus on increased attention allocation to vulnerable road users in real-life driving, which could influence the way novice drivers are educated. This, in turn, would ensure better road safety and decrease the numbers of accidents involving bicycles and motorbikes.