Reorienting driver attention with dynamic tactile cues.
Ho C., Gray R., Spence C.
A series of three experiments was designed to investigate whether the presentation of moving tactile warning signals that are presented in a particular spatiotemporal configuration may be particularly effective in terms of facilitating a driver's response to a target event. In the experiments reported here, participants' visual attention was manipulated such that they were either attending to the frontal object that might occasionally approach them on a collision course, or else they were distracted by a color discrimination task presented from behind. We measured how rapidly participants were able to initiate a braking response to a looming visual target following the onset of vibrotactile warning signals presented from around their waist. The vibrotactile warning signals consisted of single, double, and triple upward moving cues (Experiment 1), triple upward and downward moving cues (Experiment 2), and triple random cues (Experiment 3). The results demonstrated a significant performance advantage following the presentation of dynamic triple cues over the static single tactile cues, regardless of the specific configuration of the triple cues. These findings point to the potential benefits of embedding dynamic information in warning signals for dynamic target events. These findings have important implications for the design of future vibrotactile warning signals.