Children's Attentional Skills and Road Behavior

This article reports on a study that evaluated the impact of children’s attentional skills on the safety of their road-crossing behavior. The authors focused on two skills, switching attention and concentration, in a population of 160 children (aged 4 years and 3 months through 10 years). The children were asked to play a computer game that involved 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. To relate road behavior to performance on the switching attention and concentration tasks, parents and the same subset of children were observed crossing roads on the campus at the University of Warwick. Switching and concentration appear to be distinct skills, and both skills develop with age. The authors found that older children switched their attention 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. The authors conclude by recommending that safety programs feature the development of these skills in order to support safe traffic behaviors in children.


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  • Accession Number: 01536674
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 12 2014 3:54PM