Sensation seeking and detection of risky road signals: a developmental perspective

Accid Anal Prev. 2002 Sep;34(5):569-80. doi: 10.1016/s0001-4575(01)00054-9.


The relevance of the construct of sensation seeking, particularly the motivation to seek thrill and adventure and to avoid boredom, to detection of danger on the road, in particular choices made in conditions of road dilemmas (e.g. road-crossing and amber-light), was examined. 412 participants, males and females, from three age groups--7, 13 and 22--completed Zuckerman's test of sensation seeking and were exposed to the following experiments: Virtual driving, road crossing and go-carting. In each experiment, participants were exposed individually to a series of road dilemmas, constructed according to the paradigm of signal detection. In each dilemma, a dichotomous choice was made: To do or not to do. Age- and gender-dependent responses and connections were obtained. Most noticeable is a risky shift in males' detection responses and an inverse trend in females.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Child
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sex Factors
  • Task Performance and Analysis*