To what extent do the findings of laboratory-based spatial attention research apply to the real-world setting of driving?

Cristy Ho, Rob Gray, Charles Spence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


This paper provides a critical review of laboratory-based studies of spatial attention. We highlight a number of ways in which such studies fail to capture the key factors/constraints that have been shown to give rise to an increased risk of vehicular accident in real-world situations. In particular, limitations that are related to the design of the attentional capture task itself and limitations that are concern the demographic and current state of the participants tested in these laboratory studies are discussed. A list of recommendations are made concerning those areas in which laboratory-based spatial attention research could focus on in the future in order to make sure that their results are more relevant to those working in an applied setting, and thus, enhance translational research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6810790
Pages (from-to)524-530
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2014



  • Attention
  • ecological validity
  • multisensory
  • real world
  • spatial
  • warning signals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Signal Processing
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence

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