Children’s attentional skills and road behavior

Dunbar, George; Hill, Ros and Lewis, Vicky (2001). Children’s attentional skills and road behavior. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 7(3) pp. 227–234.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/1076-898X.7.3.227

Abstract

Switching attention and concentration, 2 skills expected to be used by skillful pedestrians, were studied. A sample of 160 children (aged 4 years 3 months–10 years) played a computer game involving attention switching. To examine concentration, a subset of the children was distracted with a cartoon video while they attempted a difficult task that required matching familiar figures. The same subset was also observed crossing roads. Older children switched faster and were less distracted. Children who were better at switching were more likely to show awareness of traffic when about to cross a road. Children who maintained concentration when challenged by a distracting event crossed the road in a less reckless manner. Parents and educators designing safety programs should take into account the development of these skills.

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