The Effect of a Secondary Task's Location on Lane Position

Master's Thesis


While driving the use of a driver’s cognitive and visual perception of heading combine to affect how drivers adjust their heading in relation to the road. The current experiments examined how using a secondary task to orient the cognitive and visual attention of drivers towards locations to the left of, in front of, or to the right of the driver affected their ability to keep a car in the middle of their lane on straight and curved sections of roads. Experiment 1 used a two lane road in a virtual environment that was relatively visually impoverished, and Experiment 2 added objects to the side of the road to increase the amount of optic flow present in the environment. Across both experiments, the average lane position of drivers was biased away from the location of the secondary task on straight and curved sections of roads, and the additional objects in Experiment 2 magnified this effect. These results replicated findings in the literature showing that moving the attention of drivers impairs their ability to maintain a car in desired position and that features along the side of the road have the potential to influence the errors that occur. These results suggest that drivers may try to compensate for the fact that their attention is distracted by steering away from where their attention is focused.


Attribute NameValues
Alternate Title
  • The Effect of a Secondary Task on Lane Position

Author Christopher Galeucia
Contributor Laura Carlson, Research Director
Contributor James Brockmole, Committee Member
Contributor Bradley Gibson, Committee Member
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Psychology
Degree Name Master of Arts
Defense Date
  • 2016-06-27

Submission Date 2016-07-18
Record Visibility and Access Public
Content License
Departments and Units


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