Psychology in the Driving Seat


It’s the law in most countries that you can’t drive whilst holding your phone. No texting. No hand-held calls. Why is this?

Because it’s dangerous.

Sure, but dangerous because you only have two hands? Why can I eat a chocolate bar then? That uses the same number of hands as a phone call.

Because it’s not to do with your hands. It’s to do with your brain.

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Driving safety laws are informed by psychological research in a really interesting area of Psychology, sometimes called Applied Psychology.

Applied Psychology, as an area of specialism, focuses on (you guessed it!) applying Psychological understanding to daily life.

You’d be amazed how many areas of you day-to-day life have been consiously designed, with the help of psychologists.

Every noticed the music when you’re shopping? How about the flooring in department stores: carpet designed to slow you down when you’re near the clothes, but tiles to speed you up when you’re in a non-revenue passageway.

Sometimes our choices are a deliberate effect to influence behaviour. Other times, psychologists step in to correct a potentially harmful situation from developing.

As in the case of driving laws. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t text and drive.

If you’re want to know more about some specific research touching on the risks of mobile phones and driving, check out the video above.

(There’s also a simple experiment you can replicate at home with your friends)

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About Daniel Edward 65 Articles
Daniel set up Psychology Unlocked in 2016 to support Psychology students in higher and further education. Daniel has a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Psychology, Politics and Sociology from the University of Cambridge.