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Petya Ventsislavova


Course studied: Thesis research

United Kingdom

More about Petya Ventsislavova

Thesis Title: Neurophysiological correlates and cross-cultural comparisons of hazard perception in drivers

Petya is a current PhD student in the School of Social Sciences and her thesis examines hazard perception and prediction in driving. Her aim is to improve the typical Hazard Perception Test, where participants are asked to watch video clips filmed from driver’s perspective and press a button every time they think they have seen a hazard. Also, she is working with an alternative version of this test called the Hazard Prediction Task where clips are cut and occluded immediately prior to the hazard appearance and participants are asked ‘What Happens Next?’

Specifically, her research focuses on:

  • The design of the hazard perception video clips, testing different types of videos that have been recorded during normal driving and contain a wide variety of road hazards. The aim is to design the videos as realistic as possible. To examine the difficulty and realism of the videos, eye movements and time reaction are measured.
  • The cross-cultural comparisons of hazard perception skill between different countries. Chinese, Spanish, and UK versions of both the hazard perception test and the hazard prediction task are tested on drivers from all three countries. The aim is to identify how culturally-specific this skill is, and how best to test it across different countries. Petya has been awarded with the Santander Travel Bursary in order to undertake this cross-cultural research. Recently she has been travelling to China, Spain and Israel and established collaborations with Tsinghua University in Beijing and Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv.
  • On the neural mechanisms differentiating hazard detection and prediction in the context of driving using an event-related potentials (ERPs). The goal is to find out whether hazards create more activity in a particular brain area during its detection and anticipation.

Petya holds a Master’s Degree in Social Psychology from the University of Granada (Spain). The period before she started her PhD Studies in Nottingham Trent University, Petya worked as a research assistant with Candida Castro in the University of Granada and participated in the development of the first Hazard Perception test adapted to the Spanish driving context. This project was funded by the Spanish National Department of Traffic and the Ministry of Education.

At the moment she also works as an hourly paid lecturer for the following modules:

  • PSYC10031 Research Methods in Psychology (CH)
  • PSYC10011 Research Methods in Psychology (CH).

Director of Studies

Research Groups/Centres and Projects

Cognition and Perception research group



  • Ventsislavova, P., Gugliotta, A., Peña-Suarez, E., García-Fernandez, P., Crundall, D. and Castro, C. (2nd revision). Differentiating between Sensation, Situation Awareness, Decision-making and Cautiousness in the Multiple Choice Hazard Prediction Test. Are these cognitive processes related to distractibility? Accident Analysis and Prevention.
  • Castro, C., Ventsislavova, P., Peña-Suarez, E., Gugliotta, A., García-Fernandez, P., Eisman, E., and Crundall, D. (2016). Proactive Listening to a Training Commentary improves Hazard Prediction. Safety Science, 82, 144-154.
  • Ba, Y., Zhang W., Salvendya, G., Cheng, A., and Ventsislavova, P. (2016). Assessments of risky driving: A Go/No-Go simulator driving task to evaluate risky decision-making and associated behavioral patterns. Applied Ergonomics, 52, 265–274.
  • Horberry, T., García-Fernández, P., Ventsislavova-Petrova, P. and Castro, C. (2014). Psychological road audits: background, development and intitial findings. Ergonomics Australia, 6(1), 1-6.


  • Ventsislavova, P., Gugliotta, A., Peña-Suárez, E., Padilla, J. L., and Castro, C. (2014). Valoraciones cognitivas sobre la realización y el impacto de las obras de remodelación de infraestructuras. 11 CONGRESO INTERNACIONAL DE SEGURIDAD VIAL, Torremilonos, Spain.
  • Ventsislavova P., García-Fernández, P., Peña-Suárez, E., Gugliotta, A., Horberry, T., and Castro, C. (2014). Calmar el tráfico en las ciudades: Pros y contras. Planteamiento de un análisis desde el factor humano. 3 Encuentro de Ciudades para la Seguridad Vial y la Movilidad Sostenible, Torrevieja, Spain.
  • Ventsislavova P., García-Fernández, P., Castro, C., Horberry, T. (2014). Using Driver Verbal Protocols to Identify Highway Design Deficiencies. 17th Conference of the Euro working group on transportation (EWGT), Seville, Spain.
  • Peña-Suárez, E., Ventsislavova, P., Gugliotta, A., Garcia-Fernandez, P., Gijon, M., and Castro, C. (2014). "Percepción de peligros y propensión a cometer errores atencionales en conducción" 11 CONGRESO INTERNACIONAL DE SEGURIDAD VIAL, Torremilonos, Spain.
  • Gugliotta, A., Ventsislavova, P., Peña-Suárez, E., Padilla, J. L., García-Fernández, P., and Castro, C. (2014). Assessment and Training of Hazard Perception: Creating a tool able to evaluate different driver profiles. 17th Conference of the Euro Working Group on Transportation (EWGT), Seville, Spain.
  • Horberry, T., García-Fernández, P., Ventsislavova, P. and Castro, C. (2013). Initial development of psychological road audits: combining human factors, safe design and traffic psychology. In: HFESA Conference Proceedings - 2013. HEFSA 2013: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia 2013 Annual Conference, Perth, Australia, 2-4 December 2013.

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