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Title page for ETD etd-12192006-122737

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Seward, Anne Elizabeth
URN etd-12192006-122737
Title Using Virtual Environments to Assess Time-to-Contact Judgments from Pedestrian Viewpoints
Degree Master of Science
Department Computer Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Julie A. Adams Committee Member
Robert E. Bodenheimer, Jr. Committee Member
  • Computer Graphics
  • Virtual Reality
  • Time-to-Contact
  • Pedestrians -- Decision making
  • Motion perception (Vision)
Date of Defense 2006-12-12
Availability unrestricted
This thesis explores the use of desktop and immersive virtual environments to study judgments that pedestrians make when deciding to cross a street. In particular, the ability of people to discriminate and estimate time-to-contact (TTC) for approaching vehicles under a variety of conditions is examined. Four experiments observing time-to-contact judgments under various conditions were conducted. These conditions are the effect of type of vehicle, viewpoint, presentation mode, and TTC reference value on TTC judgments. No significant effect of type of vehicle or of viewpoint is found, extending prior work to cover all views typically encountered by pedestrians. Discrimination of short reference values for TTC judgments is consistent with the literature, but performance degrades significantly for long reference values. We find no significant difference between judgments made in a desktop environment versus a head-mounted display, indicating that tracking the approaching vehicle with one's head does not aid discrimination. In general, people appear to use strategies similar to those that pedestrians use to make real-world, street-crossing decisions.
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