Psychological Science 2018, (3) 601-607 DOI:     ISSN: 0412-1961 CN: 21-1139/TG

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visual search
spot the difference
eye movement
YU Hua-Rong
YI Li-Zhang
MU Lu-Jing
TAN Ding-Liang
Article by Yu,H.R
Article by Yi,L.Z
Article by Mu,L.J
Article by Tan,D.L

The development of pupil’s visual search in traffic situation


Visual search is an important component of pedestrians’ interaction with traffic situation, which allowing them to successfully identify external cues that impact their decision-making. Previous research has identified that children under the age of 14 are particularly vulnerable to road accidents as pedestrians, and a number of motivational and cognitive skill factors which may play a part in it. Studies have shown that children with low visual search are more likely to take risks when crossing the road. However,in the traffic situation, whether children's level of visual search, and searching strategy is the same with that of the adults, it is less mentioned in previous studies. We aimed to explore the development of pupils’ visual search as pedestrians. The sample consisted of 160 Chinese pupils from a common primary urban school, including 42 in Grade 1, 43 in Grade 2, 41 in Grade 4 and 34 in Grade 6. In addition, 41adults volunteers aged between 18 and 27 years were recruited from a university in Nantong city. All subjects completed two experiments: ‘spot the difference’ was used to assess subject’s visual search ability, while visual search strategies were studied by analyzing the eye movements of the children and the adults while they were carrying out the video task. In experiment 1, there were 34 pairs of pictures were chosen as stimulus materials, including 30 pairs for experiment and 4 pairs for practice. The subjects were asked to spot all the differences on each of the picture pairs as quickly as possible, but they were not told how many differences in each pair. In experiment 2, a simulated road environment of moving traffic was designed by video designers. The subjects’ eye-movements were recorded by Smart Eye 3D Eye Tracking System. Participants were instructed to observe the traffic video, and had a response when they thought it was safe to cross. The results showed that as pupils growing, their efficiency in “spot the differences” task improved continually. However, pupils in grade 1 and 2 still didn’t perform as well as the adults, (p﹤.01). The performance in “spot the difference” had no significant differences between boys and girls (p﹥.05). Compared with adults, the pupils behaved much more missing crossing and less safety crossing (p﹤.05). Specially, among the pupils, the pupil in grade 4 had the least times of adventure crossing, while missed the most times to cross the road (p﹤.05). The girl’s missing crossing was much more than the boys (p﹤.01). Pupils’ eye gaze in the region of interest were different from the adults’, that the adults’ fixation duration was much longer than the pupils (p﹤.001), and the fixation counts were much more than the pupils (p﹤.05), except on the curve. However, pupils’ saccade amplitude and saccade velocity in the whole traffic video are not different from the adults’ (p﹥.05). Results demonstrate that pupils' traffic visual searching ability goes up as they grow, and visual searching strategies become more reasonable and useful. However, they are still on a low level compared with adults. Visual search for grade four pupils (9-10 years of age) has developed significantly. Visual search doesn’t vary with gender on the whole.

Keywords visual search   pupil   spot the difference   eye movement  
Received 2017-07-10 Revised 2018-01-02 Online: 2018-05-20 
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