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Hum Factors. 1999 Mar;41(1):15-25.

Eye movements of younger and older drivers.

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Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel.


This 2-part study focuses on eye movements to explain driving-related visual performance in younger and older persons. In the first task, participants' eye movements were monitored as they viewed a traffic scene image with a numeric overlay and visually located the numbers in their sequential order. The results showed that older participants had significantly longer search episodes than younger participants, and that the visual search of older adults was characterized by more fixations and shorter saccades, although the average fixation durations remained the same. In the second task, participants viewed pictures of traffic scenes photographed from the driver's perspective. Their task was to assume the role of the driver and regard the image accordingly. Results in the second task showed that older participants allocated a larger percentage of their visual scan time to a small subset of areas in the image, whereas younger participants scanned the images more evenly. Also, older participants revisited the same areas and younger participants did not. The results suggest how aging might affect the efficacy of visual information processing. Potential applications of this research include training older drivers for a more effective visual search, and providing older drivers with redundant information in case some information is missed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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