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The development and evaluation of eye-movement feedback training tools to improve hazard perception and detection in driving SSS34

  • School: School of Social Sciences
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Starting: 2022
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded


NTU's Fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme 2022

Project ID: SSS34

Novice drivers are more likely to have a car crash than experienced drivers, partly because of poorly developed visual search strategies: they do not know where to look for hazards or what to look for. Given drivers’ limited information processing capacity, appropriate prioritisation of areas/objects within the scene is fundamental for safe driving. Prioritised information is attended to first, with lower-prioritised information being ignored or attended to later. If a cue to a potential hazard is completely missed or is assigned a low priority for attention, the risk of collision is much greater.
While motor-skills required to drive a car are acquired quickly with practise, the ability to assign and constantly update prioritisation rankings to areas of cognitively-salient hazard cues is poorly understood and takes much longer to develop. This project will investigate how the ability to form and update such priority hierarchies relates to poor hazard anticipation, with the ultimate aim of developing training tools to improve hazard awareness in novice drivers and reduce crash risk.

Across the three-year project, you will:

  1. Develop and validate a series of measures to access drivers’ priority hierarchies. For instance, drivers’ explicit reports of priority hierarchies while viewing slowed-down hazard clips can be compared to eye-movement measures in normal-speed viewing conditions across drivers of varying experience and crash risk.
  2. Identify where the deficit in this ability lies with novice drivers. Do novices lack declarative knowledge of hazard sources and relative dangers, or do they not have time to apply such knowledge to their visual search in a fast-changing dynamic scene? Alternatively, does bottom-up visual saliency interfere with their plans to monitor prioritised hazard cues?
  3. Once the source of the deficit is identified, you will design training interventions to improve novice drivers’ prioritisation of hazard cues and their subsequent ability to predict and quickly react to hazards. For instance, you may develop a series of eye-movement feedback training tools at various presentation speeds that allow drivers to develop their skills in a scaffolded environment.
  4. Evaluate the effectiveness of the training tools by comparing baseline and post-training assessments related to hazard perception, hazard prediction, and simulated driving assessments.

You will have access to state-of-the-art research equipment, including eye-trackers, VR, and driving simulators that will allow for the research to be investigated in a safe and controlled manner, whilst also providing subjects with an immersive experience similar to that of real driving.

School strategic research priority

This project will be linked to the Centre for Behavioural Research Methods and is aligned with the University theme of Safety and Security of Citizens and Society.

The School of Social Sciences lists Transportation and Environment as one of its strategic priorities, and the project will be supported by the Transportation Research in Psychology group (TRiP) based in NTU Psychology.

Entry qualifications

For the eligibility criteria, visit our studentship application page.

How to apply

For guidance and to make an application, please visit our studentship application page. The application deadline is Friday 14 January 2022.

Fees and funding

This is part of NTU's 2022 fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme.

Guidance and support

Download our full applicant guidance notes for more information.

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