Emotionally charged billboards distract drivers, syas new study

Emotionally charged billboards distract drivers, new study shows

distractive driving

University of Alberta PhD student Michelle Chan is gaining international attention and putting the brakes on distracted driving with her research on how emotionally charged billboards can distract drivers.

To understand the phenomenon, Chan and her supervisor, Anthony Singhal, created an experiment using a driving simulator in which 30 volunteer students drove past billboards containing positive, negative and neutral words.
While drivers showed a certain level of distraction to all three categories of words, the greatest level occurred when drivers were presented with negative words such as “cancer” and “abuse.”

Drivers tended to slow down or veer out of their lanes, demonstrating that while the processing of the emotional words was taking place, their attention was diverted from the road. More Details/UA

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