Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Top Stories

September 10, 2013

Vehicle, motorcycle accidents possibly linked to brain miscalculating time of impact of smaller objects

From staff reports

Incidences of cars pulling out in front of motorcyclists run regularly in headlines – locally, statewide and throughout the nation.

There could be a scientific reason.

Recent research by a Texas Tech University psychologist suggests that the regularity of this problem isn’t necessarily a case of poor driving or carelessness, but may be related to a basic human judgment error.

Pat DeLucia, the coordinator of the Human Factors Psychology Program, said her results show that small, near objects can appear farther away than larger, farther objects. The study is published in the peer-reviewed scientific psychology journal “Current Directions in Psychological Science.”

An interest in softball as an undergraduate prompted DeLucia, also professor at Texas Tech’s Department of Psychology, to study how the human brain perceives objects, their size and motion and an object’s time to impact.

Her finding – that an object’s size affects distance perception – may be the basis explaining why car drivers miscalculate motorcyclists’ distance and speed.

DeLucia explains that the brain uses two visual information cues for judging time to impact. In the first, a moving object is reflected on the eye’s retina. It expands as it approaches the eye, providing the brain accurate information about when the object will hit. This is called an “optical invariant.”

However, the brain also uses “rules of thumb” as well, such as various “artist” depth cues as a shortcut, she said.

Many times, the brain interprets objects with a larger retinal image as closer. Since motorcycles are smaller than cars, DeLucia said the brain may use this shortcut to judge a smaller motorcycle farther away than it actually is.

“With computer simulations, we had a big, far object and small, near object approaching the viewer, where the small object would hit first,” she said. “We wondered if people would choose the big one, based on the artist depth cue of relative size, or choose the smaller one, based on the more accurate optical invariant. Unexpectedly, people picked the bigger object again and again. We found people relied on rules of thumb.”

Text Only
Top Stories
  • MISSION MW!

    Mineral Wells  — Henry Ford is quoted as saying that, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

    April 17, 2014

  • wheelchair1.jpg Gift of a chair improves a life

    On most days, Richard Calandini's dog Cricket likes to ride with him to get the mail from the mailbox.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • TxDOT addressing traffic at 1821/180 intersection

    Ever since Wal-Mart Supercenter came to town, things have never been the same.

    April 17, 2014

  • Jenny Phil and Babe.jpg Jr. History Club meets

    Junior History Club of Mineral Wells met at Holiday Hills Country Club for their monthly meeting.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • The Marshes.jpg Marshes onboard with Baker comeback

    Ever since the Baker Hotel's final closing, the center of “main and main,” has been rotting out.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • hazmat3.jpg Truck rollover dumps flammable liquids

    A tractor-trailer rollover on southbound U.S. Highway 281 sent the truck's driver to the hospital and resulted in a spill of more than 5,200 gallons of combustible petroleum distillates into a ditch.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • library2.jpg From a Winter Victorian Evening to a Spring BOOKNANZA!

    In December, the Friends of the Boyce Ditto Library (FOL) invited members of various groups who had supported the organization, such as the library advisory board, the library staff and the Brazos Foundation, to a dinner held in the library.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Balloons.jpg Despite high winds, Go Blue! balloon release a big GO!

    April is National Child Abuse prevention month, and all month long Palo Pinto County Child Welfare Board, PPC Children's Alliance Center and CASA along with other organizations, have banded together in an effort to promote awareness on the largest scale possible.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • BURN BAN.jpg Commissioners reinstate burn ban

    Monday morning, Palo Pinto County Commissioners approved a motion to reinstate the countywide burn ban, which had been lifted in late March.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joe Erwin.jpg It’s All in the Family

    Any organization is a reflection of its employees.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
SmugMug


Click on a photo to see our SmugMug photos

Seasonal Content
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.