Are Happy Drivers Safer Drivers? Evidence from Hazard Response Times and Eye Tracking Data

Previous research shows that negative emotions have a detrimental effect on cognitive processes in general and on driving safety in particular. However, to date, there has been no empirical investigation of the impact that positive emotions might have on driving safety. This research examined the influence of mood on driving safety using hazard perception videos and an eye tracker. Participants’ mood was manipulated (Sad, Neutral, Happy) after which they observed videos containing a number of potential hazards. Hazard response times and eye fixations were measured. The Sad mood affected drivers the most, with the longest response times and fixation durations. The effects of the Happy mood were less clear, suggesting that apart from emotional valence, emotional arousal should be considered. In addition, hazard response times differed as a function of hazard onset (i.e. unexpected or developing hazard) and type of hazard (i.e. human, car). The results are interpreted in terms of theories of positive emotions and psychological arousal.


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  • Accession Number: 01636615
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 30 2017 8:23AM