Date of Award

Spring 1987

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Committee Director

Raymond Kirby

Committee Member

Glynn D. Coates

Committee Member

Ben B. Morgan


A roadway intersection driving simulation was created to investigate driver information processing at intersections. Research participants were provided a visual simulation of approaching intersections using a video display with a 120 degree visual field. Six groups, each containing 12 subjects, were formed according to age and gender, with age ranging from 18 to 74 years. All participants viewed 14 separate intersections, which varied according to types of traffic control signs and signals. Individual workload was assessed in three categories of response: performance, subjective, and physiological. A MANOVA was performed on six dependent variables in the 3 (age) by 2 (gender) design. Results indicate significant main effects for both age and gender. The three significant dependent variables were pedal response errors, speed of response, and heart rate reactivity to each intersection. The responses suggest greater workloads for older drivers and female drivers. In addition to age and gender, a number of driver information processing characteristics were measured. Stepwise regressions indicated that performance decrements to the simulated driving situations could best be predicted by subjects' scores for field dependency, visual acuity, and depth perception. However, age alone, accounted for more variance in performance than any single information processing variable.


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