Conference Proceeding

Driving by the Seat of Your Pants! A Multisensory Approach to Capturing 
Driver Attention

  • Charles Spence (University of Oxford, U.K.)


The increasing availability of complex in-vehicle technologies means that ‘driver inattention’ constitutes one of the leading causes of car accidents. The question therefore arises as to how best to alert ‘distracted’ drivers to potential road dangers. The latest laboratory and simulatorbased studies from the Crossmodal Research Laboratory in Oxford detailing a novel brain-based approach to the design of auditory, tactile, and multisensory warnings signals. The talk will highlight research demonstrating the potential for improving driver behavior in potentially dangerous situations and so reducing the incidence of road traffic crashes that such multisensory warning signals offer. Results of recent studies showing that multisensory stimuli can capture the attention of the driver in the simulator (and the average participant in the psychology laboratory) far more effectively than unisensory stimuli will also be described. The importance of spatial colocation in multisensory warning signal design will also be discussed, as will new evidence regarding the potentially beneficial effects of presenting warning signals in near-rear peripersonal space (i.e., from the headrest) on drivers’ head-turning responses.

How to Cite:

Spence, C., (2011) “Driving by the Seat of Your Pants! A Multisensory Approach to Capturing 
Driver Attention”, Driving Assessment Conference 6(2011), 306-306. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2011 the author(s)

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Published on
29 Jun 2011
Peer Reviewed