Peripheral vision and the aetiology of child pedestrian accidents


Department of Psychology, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK.


Three experiments examined whether age and sex differences in pedestrian accidents might be partly attributable to differences in the visual perception of peripheral stimuli. Primary schoolchildren and adults responded individually to the presentation of lights at retinal eccentricities of 2°, 20° and 40°. Experiments 1 and 2 measured reaction times and Expt 3 measured subjects' expectations of foveal and peripheral events. There were no age or sex differences in expectations. Lights were detected fastest in the 20–40° range. Movement times were not variable across eccentricities. As expected, adults' and 11-year-olds' detections were faster than eight- and six-year-olds'. A case is made for more problem-analytic and multi-theoretical research in the area of child pedestrian accidents.