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Why are older drivers, especially those over 70, involved in crashes primarily at intersections? You may tend to attribute this to cognitive or physical decline, such as slower reaction time or poor sight. These factors are undoubtedly part of the problem; however new research by some University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers have come up with another explanation - older drivers acquire bad habits, and those habits can be unlearned. “The effectiveness of our training program indicates that at least a major part of older drivers’ problems can be remediated,” says psychologist Alexander Pollatsek, who authored the article with Mathew R. E. Romoser, and Donald L. Fisher after analyzing two earlier studies. “A large percentage of not attending [to the hazards at intersections] is due to some strategy or mindset they’ve gotten into, rather than some problem with the brain,” he continues. “It’s a software problem, not a hardware problem.” The findings appear in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. ... More>
The eyes are the window into the soul—or at least the mind, according to a new paper published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Measuring the diameter of the pupil, the part of the eye that changes size to let in more light, can show what a person is paying attention to. Pupillometry, as it’s called, has been used in social psychology, clinical psychology, humans, animals, children, infants—and it should be used even more, the authors say. ... More>
The witness points out the criminal in a police lineup. She swears she’d remember that face forever. Then DNA evidence shows she’s got the wrong guy. It happens so frequently that many courts are looking with extreme skepticism at eyewitness testimony.... More>
We don’t see only what meets the eye. The visual system constantly takes in ambiguous stimuli, weighs its options, and decides what it perceives. This normally happens effortlessly. Sometimes, however, an ambiguity is persistent, and the visual system waffles on which perception is right. Such instances interest scientists because they help us understand how the eyes and the brain make sense of what we see.... More>