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How Perceptual and Cognitive Factors
are Involved in a Car Accident:
A Case Study

By: Vanessa Dominguez & Marc Gentzler | Mentor: Dr. Andrew P. Daire

Road Illusions

Road illusions such as linear perspective and corridor illusion greatly impact the decision making of a driver at high speeds (Hamer, 1994; Svenson, 2009). Linear perspective, also known as perspective convergence, occurs when parallel lines extend out from an observer and appear to merge together as distance increases (Goldstein, 2010). Linear perspective is a monocular pictorial depth cue, because a person only needs one eye to perceive depth. Road illusions could have influenced the outcome of the described car accident because linear perspective impacted the driver of Vehicle A's ability to tell whether Vehicle B was actually in the lane or off to the side. The lack of streetlights at night made it difficult to determine whether Vehicle B was in Vehicle A's lane or on the side of the road. This is due to the tendency of objects that are further away from the viewer to merge as the width of the road in the distance decreases. Other than the size of Vehicle B's headlights, depth cues were absent due to the lack of lighting. The driver of Vehicle A could only rely on linear perspective as a monocular depth cue to determine its location on or off the road, which can be misleading. Even if just based on the size of Vehicle B's headlights, the driver of Vehicle A could have determined Vehicle B's distance. However, the driver of Vehicle A's ability to determine Vehicle B's exact location was hindered by the optical road illusion, where objects merge together at a far distance. The appearance of Vehicle B driving on the wrong side of the road was a costly misrepresentation of reality.

Perception- Reaction Time >>