Practice Mind on Driving. By Terence Morris, author, PACE TULSA AGS. Apr 7, 2017 12:06 PM
Gait Kinematics and Risk Behavior during Situational Awareness Events
Previous studies have shown that using a cell phone to talk or text while walking changes gait kinematics and encourages risky street-crossing behaviors. However, less is known about how the motor-cognitive interference imposed by smartphone tasks affects pedestrians’ situational awareness to environmental targets relevant to pedestrian safety. This study systematically investigated the influence of smartphone use on detection of and responses to a variety of roadside events in a semi-virtual walking environment. Twenty-four healthy participants completed six treadmill walking sessions while engaged in a concurrent picture-dragging, texting, or news-reading task. During distracted walking, they were required to simultaneously monitor the occurrence of road events for two different levels of event frequency. Performance measures for smartphone tasks and event responses, eye movements, and perceived workload and situational awareness were compared across different dual-task conditions. The results revealed that during dual-task walking, the reading app was associated with a significantly higher level of perceived workload, and impaired awareness of the surrounding environment to a greater extent compared with the texting or picture-dragging apps. Pedestrians took longer to visually detect the roadside events in the reading and texting conditions than in the dragging condition. Differences in event response performances were mainly dependent on their salient features but were also affected by the type of smartphone task. Texting was found to make participants more reliant on their central vision to detect road events. Moreover, different gaze-scanning patterns were adopted by participants to better protect dual-task performance in response to the changes in road-event frequency. The findings of relationships between workload, dual-task performances, and allocation strategies for visual attention further our understanding of pedestrian behavior and safety. By knowing how attentional and motor demands involved in different smartphone tasks affect pedestrians’ awareness to critical roadside events, effective awareness campaigns might be devised to discourage smartphone use while walking.
Sensory Awareness Helps Internalize the Reality of BEING A PEDESTRIAN
Sensory awareness is the direct focus on some specific sensory aspect of the body or outer or inner environment. Sensory awareness is not merely responding to the characteristics of the environment. To be engaging in sensory awareness you must be paying particular attention to some sensory aspect.
For example: if you’re reaching for the door handle to open the door, that is not sensory awareness—you’re seeing the handle as part of an instrumental task. But if while reaching you’re particularly drawn to the shiny gold glint of the handle, that is sensory awareness.
Sensory awareness, is a phenomenon of experience, not a characteristic of perception. The handle falls on your retina the same way regardless of whether you see it for its instrumental value (as a means for opening the door) or for its glinty-goldness.
Another example: As you’re reading this blog, your hand is resting on your mouse as you scroll. That is not sensory awareness. But if while scrolling you are paying particular attention to the grooves on the mouse button, directly aware of the sensations in your fingertips, then that is sensory awareness.
Another example: You’re thirsty, so you take a drink of Coke. That is not sensory awareness. But if, as you drink, you particularly notice the cold tingling on your tongue, that is sensory awareness.
Everyone can have sensory awareness; Everyone can notice the glinty-goldness of a handle and can attend to the groovy surface of the mouse; and can feel the cold tingling of the Coke.
What makes the phenomenon interesting is that some people do engage in such sensations in half or nearly all of their waking moments. And what makes the phenomenon even more interesting is that such people typically don’t know that they do so at all, much less thousands of times a day. And they don’t know that they are different from other people in that regard.
© 2017 | PACE TULSA AGS FOUNDATION. “Pedestrian Awareness Crosswalk Education Foundation AGS is an online think-tank intersecting awareness of public transportation policy in the United States.”