Designers beware: Response retrieval effects influence drivers’ response times to local danger warnings

The present study investigates the effect stimulus–response binding processes in action control have on drivers’ behavior. Warning displays of driver assistance systems usually consist of several features, even those that may have no particular meaning for a currently to-be-executed response. Yet, research on distractor processing has shown that all features in a selection situation are integrated with responses and thereby can later on directly influence behavior due to feature-based retrieval of responses (which can be compatible or incompatible in the current situation). In four experiments the authors investigated the influence of ignored display-features on responses to local danger warnings. Participants responded manually (Experiment 1, N = 30) to the display colors and ignored additional icons (depicting a particular danger) on the displays. The authors approached responding in a driving and braking situation by using foot pedals for the responses (Experiment 2, N = 29), using a go/no-go task (as to imitate braking vs. no braking; Experiment 3, N = 60), and a real driving situation (Experiment 4, N = 25). They observed clear effects of feature-based response retrieval on performance when the features were relatively complex, while participants reacted via foot pedals as well as while driving a car. The repetition of an ignored feature facilitated behavior if the response also repeated, but hampered different responses. It is concluded that the possible influence of distractor–response binding on drivers’ responses should be taken into account for the design of local danger warnings in driver assistance systems.


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  • Accession Number: 01531010
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 24 2014 9:36AM