Children's attentional skills and road behavior

George Dunbar*, Roslyn Hill, Vicky Lewis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Switching attention and concentration, 2 skills expected to be used by skillful pedestrians, were studied. A sample of 160 children (aged 4 years 3 months-10 years) played a computer game involving attention switching. To examine concentration, a subset of the children was distracted with a cartoon video while they attempted a difficult task that required matching familiar figures. The same subset was also observed crossing roads. Older children switched faster and were less distracted. Children who were better at switching were more likely to show awareness of traffic when about to cross a road. Children who maintained concentration when challenged by a distracting event crossed the road in a less reckless manner. Parents and educators designing safety programs should take into account the development of these skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-234
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2001


  • attentional skills
  • children
  • road behavior
  • pedestrians
  • concentration
  • age
  • traffic awareness
  • distraction
  • safety


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