Fear and Danger Appraisals of a Road Crossing Scenario: A Developmental Perspective


One of the most important cognitive tasks performed by pedestrians is visual timing, i.e. evaluating of a vehicle time-on-arrival, comparing it with one's own crossing time, resulting in the decision whether to cross or not. Children's actual performance of this task is possibly deficient, due to their relatively inferior visual, motor and physical skills, resulting in an overreliance on the distance factor, and road-crossing training programs focusing on the speed, distance and time elements result in questionable improvement in performance. Thus, for a children's safe crossing program to become effective, it need both to improve children's detection of visual timing factors, and then to make them identify the risks these factors present. In view of possible gaps between knowledge and its actual implementation, the current study avoided direct evaluations of speed and distance (and naturally, direct risks), instead focusing on conceptual, rather than perceptual, examination of the visual timing elements of distance and speed, as integrated into appraisals of risks related to a traffic scenario.

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