Date of Award

August 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Member

Leo Gugerty

Committee Member

Rick Tyrrell

Committee Member

Zhou Job Chen


Safe driving requires wisely allocating focal attention among multiple changing events and comprehending those events. Research suggests that attentional skills can be improved by training. This study uses a low-fidelity driving simulator to train participants using part-task training on two attentional subskills: identifying (comprehending) and tracking potential hazards; and detecting and avoiding imminent hazards. Following initial familiarization with the driving simulator, each participant received training in one of these two attentional subskills. Hazard tracking probes train (and measure) identifying and tracking potential hazards by having participants watch a moving driving scenario and then select the vehicle that behaved hazardously during the scene. In hazard avoidance probes, participants must make driving responses to avoid imminent hazards without hitting nearby vehicles. After the training phase, there is a test phase which contains hazard tracking and hazard avoidance probes. The test measures near transfer, to trained hazard types, and far transfer, to untrained hazard types. Results showed significant training effects for each skill. Participants in the hazard tracking condition performed better on hazard tracking scenarios than the hazard avoidance group, but only in near transfer. Participants who received hazard avoidance training performed better overall on hazard avoidance trials compared to those in the hazard tracking condition.

Keywords: hazard tracking, hazard avoidance, attention allocation, driving simulator, hazard perception, part task training



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