Driving as You Feel: A Psychological Investigation of the Novice Driver Problem.

Kinnear, Neale A D (2006) Driving as You Feel: A Psychological Investigation of the Novice Driver Problem. PhD thesis, Edinburgh Napier University.

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The current thesis aimed to explore the novice driver problem from a psychological perspective. The ultimate aim was to enhance knowledge and understanding which may advise how to improve novice driver safety. The novice driver problem is a worldwide trend; which in the UK involves one in five newly licensed drivers being crash involved in their first year of driving (Maycock & Forsyth, 1997). Research suggests that both age and inexperience are the major factors of novice driver crash risk; although inexperience has been shown to be the more important (Maycock, 2002). Crash risk reduces dramatically as drivers gain experience of driving after licensure, although what drivers are psychologically learning through experience is not yet understood. Using the Task-Capability Interface model (Fuller, 2005) to conceptualise driving, the current thesis sought to extend the theory by exploring the psychological processes through which drivers appraise risk and how this shapes a decision and behavioural response. Study One reports that there are two distinct ways in which drivers appraise risk, which supports theory proposed by Slovic et al. (2004): risk as feelings and risk as analysis. Current neurological theory, in the form of the Somatic Marker Hypothesis (Damasio, 1994), supports the role of feelings and emotion as an evolved automated system of human risk appraisal that biases judgement and decision making. Studies Two and Three investigated emotional appraisal of hazards between novice and experienced drivers through physiological skin conductance. The results suggest that novice drivers fail to emotionally appraise developing hazards when compared to experienced drivers. Study Three demonstrated that novice drivers who had driven less than 1000 miles had physiological anticipatory scores similar to learner drivers whereas novices who had driven more than 1000 miles had scores approaching those of experienced drivers. This demonstrated a learning curve mediated by driving experience. As a result of the thesis, it is suggested that further research into the role of feelings and emotion in learning to drive is performed. The implication of the results for graduated licensing is also discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Novice drivers; Driver safety; Inexperience; Psychological processes; Task Capability Interface Model; Risk behaviour; Psychological processes; Emotional appraisal of hazards;
University Divisions/Research Centres: Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Creative Industries > School of Engineering and the Built Environment
Dewey Decimal Subjects: 100 Philosophy & psychology > 150 Psychology > 158 Applied psychology
100 Philosophy & psychology > 150 Psychology > 152 Perception, movement, emotions & drives
600 Technology > 620 Engineering > 629 Vehicle engineering > 629.2 Powered ground vehicles > 629.28 Ground vehicle test, driving, maintenance, repair > 629.283 Driving ground vehicles
Library of Congress Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Item ID: 2592
Depositing User: Users 10 not found.
Date Deposited: 14 May 2009 08:50
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2011 12:32

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