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Gaze-direction effects on drivers' abilities to steer a straight course

MPS-Authors
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Readinger,  WO
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons83857

Chatziastros,  A
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons83870

Cunningham,  DW
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons83839

Bülthoff,  HH
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Readinger, W., Chatziastros, A., Cunningham, D., Cutting, J., & Bülthoff, H. (2001). Gaze-direction effects on drivers' abilities to steer a straight course. Poster presented at 4. Tübinger Wahrnehmungskonferenz (TWK 2001), Tübingen, Germany.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-E2DE-7
Abstract
Applied navigation tasks, such as driving a car, present unique opportunities to study the human perception/action system. Traditionally, research into the control of locomotion has assumed that humans choose a destination and then generally look where they go. However, evidence from motorcycle and equitation manuals, for instance, suggests that the reciprocal behavior is also important. That is, even with a distinct goal in the environment, people tend to navigate in the direction they are looking, only occasionally checking on their progress toward a destination and making adjustments as necessary. Considering the implications for the performance and safety of drivers, the present study is designed to investigate effects of gaze-eccentricity on basic steering abilities. Using a 180-degree horizontal FoV projection theater, we simulated a car moving through a textured environment while participants used a forced-feedback steering-wheel to control direction of travel. During each trial, participants (n=12) were asked to fixate a Landolt-C figure which was displayed in one of 7 positions (0, +/- 15, 30, or 45 degrees from center) anchored on the screen, and drive down the center of a straight road. In order to ensure fixation, the orientation of the Landolt-C varied randomly between 4 positions (0, 90, 180, and 270 degrees) and participants were required to respond to particular orientations by pressing a button on the steering-wheel. The lateral position of the driver was measured during the trial. In this basic condition, significant deviations from straight ahead were found when conditions of eccentric gaze were compared to fixation at 0 degrees (p<0.001). Specifically, fixation to one side of the street systematically lead the driver to steer in that direction. These results are similar to the findings from another condition in which participants' head movements were restricted. The contribution of retinal flow to this pattern of data will be discussed, along with reports of driver experience and confidence.