[IWAR] HUMAN FACTORS fog, perception

From: 7Pillars Partners (partnersat_private)
Date: Sat Apr 04 1998 - 09:40:32 PST

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    How's this for the fog of war?  --MW
    Fog Alters Perception Of Speed
       LONDON (Reuters) -- Fog can trick drivers into thinking their speed is
       far slower than it actually is, according to a paper in the April 2nd
       issue of the journal Nature.
       Researchers from the University of Wales, Cardiff, UK, report on
       experiments in which subjects were asked to respond to different virtual
       driving environments in a driving simulator. Robert J. Snowden and
       colleagues first presented the subjects with two scenes, one that was
       clear and another that was either clear, misty or foggy. The scenes had
       been adjusted to be moving at the same speed, but the subjects perceived
       the foggier scenes to be moving more slowly.
       The subjects were then asked to achieve a target speed in different
       driving conditions. The researchers found that the subjects drove at
       higher speeds as the scene became more foggy.
       Snowden and colleagues note that drivers tend to rely more on their own
       perceptions -- rather than the speedometer -- in foggy conditions
       because they are watching the road intently for emerging objects.
       "Hence it is exactly in conditions of reduced visibility caused by fog
       that drivers rely on their own perceptual judgment of speed," write the
       To explain their findings the study authors cite the results of previous
       research, which suggested that the level of contrast seen by the human
       eye affects the way it judges speed. As contrast decreases, as it does
       in fog, objects appear to move more slowly.
       The researchers conclude that the blame for many accidents in fog
       "...may not lie solely in the irresponsible nature of the drivers but
       with an unfortunate quirk of our perceptual systems." SOURCE: Nature

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