The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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MIE Seminar Series: Engaging Teenage Social Networks to Enhance Driving Safety


Monday, November 7, 2016 - 4:00pm


Assistant Professor Shannon Roberts


Kellogg Room, Elab II


Technology is changing the way teenagers interact with devices and with each other. In some cases, such as in driving, these interactions can have negative consequences. This talk will describe a study designed to reduce the number of teenage traffic fatalities by utilizing a feedback brochure and social influence to alter behavior. Compared to past research in the area of teenage driving, this study leveraged the current teenage social network and the prevalence of social influence to change behavior. This network-based perspective has far-reaching consequences for how changes in driving behavior might change within a social network. It also highlights a feedback system that moves beyond a focus on individual driving behavior and acknowledges behavior of the social network, which engages the collective teenage driving system. This research has implications outside of transportation safety in other domains given the methodological/statistical techniques, social network analysis, and data visualization via the feedback system.