Journal Article


Ciara M. Greene
Gillian Murphy



search load effects line cognitive cognitive psychology driver safety behaviour support

Load theory behind the wheel; perceptual and cognitive load effects. (2017)

Abstract Perceptual Load Theory has been proposed as a resolution to the longstanding early versus late selection debate in cognitive psychology. There is much evidence in support of Load Theory but very few applied studies, despite the potential for the model to shed light on everyday attention and distraction. Using a driving simulator, the effect of perceptual and cognitive load on drivers' visual search was assessed. The findings were largely in line with Load Theory, with reduced distractor processing under high perceptual load, but increased distractor processing under high cognitive load. The effect of load on driving behaviour was also analysed, with significant differences in driving behaviour under perceptual and cognitive load. In addition, the effect of perceptual load on drivers' levels of awareness was investigated. High perceptual load significantly increased inattentional blindness and deafness, for stimuli that were both relevant and irrelevant to driving. High perceptual load also increased RTs to hazards. The current study helps to advance Load Theory by illustrating its usefulness outside of traditional paradigms. There are also applied implications for driver safety and roadway design, as the current study suggests that perceptual and cognitive load are important factors in driver attention. (PsycINFO Database Record
Collections Ireland -> University College Cork -> PubMed

Full list of authors on original publication

Ciara M. Greene, Gillian Murphy

Experts in our system

Ciara M. Greene
University College Cork
Total Publications: 24
Gillian Murphy
University College Cork
Total Publications: 5