Enhanced perception of risk in a driving simulator
by Francesco Walker; Andrea L. Hauslbauer; Daniel Preciado; Marieke H. Martens; Willem B. Verwey
International Journal of Human Factors Modelling and Simulation (IJHFMS), Vol. 7, No. 2, 2019

Abstract: One major concern with driving simulator studies is the lack of perceived risk for participants. This has led some authors to question the behavioural validity of simulator-based research. In this study, we investigated this concern by compensating for the possible perceived absence of risk with an anxiety-inducing risk factor: Participants were told that if they had a collision, they would receive a mild electric shock. We hypothesised that the addition of the new risk factor would increase participants' 'sense of presence' - the feeling of truly being and belonging in the virtual environment. We also analysed their driving behaviour, physiology, anxiety, and workload. Overall, we observed very few differences between the threat and the control group: Both reported a strong sense of presence. This suggests that, even without the risk of physical harm, mid-level driving simulators already elicit a strong sense of presence and that the 'lack of physical crash risk' is unlikely to affect study results.

Online publication date: Fri, 28-Feb-2020

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