Distribution of Peripheral Vision for a Driving Simulator Functional Field of View Task

Document Type



Psychology (CMC)

Publication Date



Although previous studies have assessed the allocation of central and peripheral vision in functional field of view (FFOV) tasks, few studies have directly assessed changes in the FFOV within a driving environment. By modifying a typical FFOV task paradigm with central and peripheral target tasks occurring in a low-fidelity driving simulation, a method of assessing the allocation of peripheral vision resources was developed. Two experiments were conducted to: 1) validate the FFOV task in a driving simulation environment, 2) assess peripheral attention distribution due to the simulation background, and 3) assess peripheral attention distribution due to a basic vehicle steering task. In Experiment 1, the central and peripheral task performance of 17 college undergraduates (8 males, 9 females) was compared when provided a blank white screen versus the driving simulation background (i.e., driver's vehicle moving on a winding road towards a distant horizon). In Experiment 2, the central and peripheral task performance of 27 college undergraduates (19 male, 8 female) was assessed when provided the same driving simulation background as in Experiment 1, but with the additional task of controlling the vehicle's lane position. Both experiments used a central, two-choice object recognition task that varied in object display speed (160, 260 ms) with a concurrent peripheral target detection task that varied in eccentricity (10, 20, 30° visual angle) and radial position (4 cardinal, 4 oblique). Results from both experiments indicated a successful replication of a FFOV task with poorer peripheral task performance as peripheral targets increased in display speed and eccentricity. Analysis of peripheral target localization accuracy performance suggested a lower visual field dominance and a differentiated pattern of peripheral attention allocation for the driving environment and when the participants were performing the steering task.

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© 2010 Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Inc