Prof. Lana Trick, Department of Psychology, appeared on CBC Radio’s Cross-Country Checkup over the weekend to discuss what can be done to eliminate pedestrian deaths.
Trick runs U of G’s DRiVE Lab and studies collision risk and the mechanisms of attention during driving.
While many worry that cellphones have increased distracted driving, Trick said drivers have allowed themselves to be distracted by many things over the years.
She said monotonous driving can actually lead to something called “mental underload” in which drivers’ attention wanders out of boredom. Research from Trick’s lab has found that listening to an audiobook can actually improve performance during uneventful drives and reduce speeding — common during mental underload driving.
Trick researches attention and working memory, including how attention and memory operations change as individuals age, and the limits of our attentional focus.