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Human Performance Lab Wins Best Paper Award

Doctoral candidate Thalia Taylor (left in photo) and her colleagues in the Arbella Insurance Human Performance Laboratory won the Honda Outstanding Student Paper Award at the 6th International Driving Symposium on Human Factors in Driving Assessment, Training, and Vehicle Design, held at Lake Tahoe in late June. Taylor is a doctoral student in Neuroscience and Behavior at UMass Amherst. The full title of the paper is “Long-Term Effects of Hazard Anticipation Training on Novice Drivers Measured on the Open Road.” Besides Taylor, the authors were Anuj Pradhan, from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and Kathleen Masserang, Gautam Divekar, Siby Samuel, Jeffrey Muttart, Alexander Pollatsek, and Donald Fisher of UMass Amherst.

An abstract of the paper is below. 

Summary: (a) The purpose of this study was to determine whether novice drivers that were trained to anticipate hazards did so better than novice drivers who were not so trained immediately after training and up to one year after training oc-urred. (b) Novice drivers who had held their restricted license for about one month were randomly assigned to a PC-based hazard anticipation training pro-gram (RAPT) or a placebo (control) training program. The programs took about one hour to complete. The effects of training were assessed in a field drive by using patterns of eye movements to assess whether drivers anticipated a potential unseen hazard. (c) The effects of training persisted over time. In the field test immediately after training, the RAPT group anticipated the hazards 65.8% of the time whereas; the control group anticipated them only 47.3% of the time. Six or more months later, the groups were brought back for a second field test and the effects of training did not diminish; the RAPT group anticipated the hazards 61.9% of the time compared to 37.7% for the control group.