The role of associatively-mediated processes in shaping driving behaviour: how experience of contingencies interacts with response inhibition

Driving is a necessary, but inherently risky, daily activity. One behaviour exacerbating these risks occurs when drivers illegally cross amber traffic lights, and an improved ability to inhibit this behaviour would promote safer driving. Driving is cognitively demanding, and this is likely to reduce the ability to maintain the intention to inhibit the amber-crossing response. Recent research has demonstrated that response inhibition can become associatively-mediated with the right type of training and is thus not exclusively reliant on control processes. This finding has led to the development of inhibition training techniques to develop associatively-mediated inhibitory responses to cues that might lead to an incorrect behaviour. However, it is unclear to what extent this work could be generalised to driving. The first question addressed in this thesis centres on what kind of behaviour at traffic lights might be primed as a result of experiencing the contingencies produced at traffic light-controlled junctions. The second focuses on how training could be developed to change the products of this learning so that it primes safer behaviours. Chapter One introduces the theoretical background to the thesis and includes a discussion of dual-process models of associative learning and associatively-mediated inhibition. Chapters Two and Three ask what is learnt at an associative level at traffic lights. Chapter Two begins the development of a laboratory paradigm that aims to capture the contingencies linked to traffic lights, and Chapter Three continues this by introducing sequences into the paradigm. Chapter Four investigates the importance of task set for associative learning and begins the development of a training task to change the learnt associative behaviour towards amber traffic lights. This work is continued in Chapter Five where the task is taken out of a pure associative learning context and applied in a real-world intervention. Finally, Chapter Six summarises the empirical work and links it to the theories and issues introduced in Chapter One.

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  • Accession Number: 01751226
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB Group Limited
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Sep 1 2020 2:50PM