Psychology of religion
Speaking, psychology of religion consists of the application of psychological methods and interpretive frameworks to the diverse contents of religious traditions as well as to both religious and irreligious individuals. The extraordinary range of methods and frameworks can be helpfully summed up regarding the classic distinction between the natural-scientific and human-scientific approaches: the first cluster proceeds by means of objective and preferably experimental procedures for testing hypotheses regarding the causal connections among the objects of one's study. In contrast, the human-scientific approach accesses the human world of experience using qualitative and interpretive methods, with the goal of discerning meaningful rather than causal connections among the phenomena one seeks to understand. Psychologists of religion pursue three major projects: systematic description of religious contents, attitudes and expressions; the psychology of religion first arose as a self-conscious discipline in the late 19th century, but all three of these tasks have a history going back many centuries before that.
The challenge for the psychology of religion is threefold: to provide a thoroughgoing description of the objects of investigation, whether they be shared religious content or individual experiences, attitudes, or conduct. These fruits may be both negative; the first, descriptive task requires a clarification of one's terms—above all, the word religion. Historians of religion have long underscored the problematic character of this term, noting that its usage over the centuries has changed in significant ways in the direction of reification; the early psychologists of religion were aware of these difficulties acknowledging that the definitions they were choosing to use were to some degree arbitrary. With the rise of positivistic trends in psychology over the course of the 20th century the demand that all phenomena be operationalized by quantitative procedures, psychologists of religion developed a multitude of scales, most of them developed for use with Protestant Christians. Factor analysis was brought into play by both psychologists and sociologists of religion, to establish a fixed core of dimensions and a corresponding set of scales.
The justification and adequacy of these efforts in the light of constructivist and other postmodern viewpoints, remains a matter of debate. In the last several decades among clinical psychologists, a preference for the terms "spirituality" and "spiritual" has emerged, along with efforts to distinguish them from "religion" and "religious." In the United States, "religion" has for many become associated with sectarian institutions and their obligatory creeds and rituals, thus giving the word a negative cast. In fact, "spirituality" has undergone an evolution in the West, from a time when it was a synonym for religion in its original, subjective meaning. Today, efforts are ongoing to "operationalize" these terms, with little regard for their history in their Western context, with the apparent realist assumption that underlying them are fixed qualities identifiable using empirical procedures. Schnitker and Emmons theorized that the understanding of religion as a search for meaning makes implications in the three psychological areas of motivation and social relationships.
The cognitive aspects relate to God and a sense of purpose, the motivational ones to the need to control, the religious search for meaning is weaved into social communities. American psychologist and philosopher William James is regarded by most psychologists of religion as the founder of the field, he served as president of the American Psychological Association, wrote one of the first psychology textbooks. In the psychology of religion, James' influence endures, his Varieties of Religious Experience is considered to be the classic work in the field, references to James' ideas are common at professional conferences. James distinguished between personal religion. Institutional religion refers to the religious group or organization and plays an important part in a society's culture. Personal religion, in which the individual has mystical experience, can be experienced regardless of the culture. James was most interested in understanding personal religious experience. In studying personal religious experiences, James made a distinction between healthy-minded and sick-souled religiousness.
Individuals predisposed to healthy-mindedness tend to ignore the evil in the world and focus on the positive and the good. James used examples of Walt Whitman and the "mind-cure" religious movement to illustrate healthy-mindedness in The Varieties of Religious Experience. In contrast, individuals predisposed to having a sick-souled religion are unable to ignore evil and suffering and need a unifying experience, religious or otherwise, to reconcile good and evil. James included quotations from Leo Tolstoy and John Bunyan
Social psychology is the scientific study of how people's thoughts and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of others. In this definition, scientific refers to the empirical investigation using the scientific method; the terms thoughts and behavior refer to psychological variables that can be measured in humans. The statement that others' presence may be imagined or implied suggests that humans are malleable to social influences when alone, such as when watching television or following internalized cultural norms. Social psychologists explain human behavior as a result of the interaction of mental states and social situations. Social psychologists examine factors that cause behaviors to unfold in a given way in the presence of others, they study conditions under which certain behavior and feelings occur. Social psychology is concerned with the way these feelings, beliefs and goals are cognitively constructed and how these mental representations, in turn, influence our interactions with others.
Social psychology traditionally bridged the gap between sociology. During the years following World War II there was frequent collaboration between psychologists and sociologists; the two disciplines, have become specialized and isolated from each other in recent years, with sociologists focusing on "macro variables" to a much greater extent than psychologists. Sociological approaches to psychology remain an important counterpart to psychological research in this area. In addition to the split between psychology and sociology, there has been a somewhat less pronounced difference in emphasis between American social psychologists and European social psychologists; as a generalization, American researchers traditionally have focused more on the individual, whereas Europeans have paid more attention to group level phenomena. Although there were some older writings about social psychology, such as those by Islamic philosopher Al-Farabi, the discipline of social psychology, as its modern-day definition, began in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century.
By that time, the discipline had developed a significant foundation. Following the 18th century, those in the emerging field of social psychology were concerned with developing concrete explanations for different aspects of human nature, they attempted to discover concrete cause and effect relationships that explained the social interactions in the world around them. In order to do so, they believed that the scientific method, an empirically based scientific measure, could be applied to human behavior; the first published study in this area was an experiment in 1898 by Norman Triplett, on the phenomenon of social facilitation. During the 1930s, many Gestalt psychologists, most notably Kurt Lewin, fled to the United States from Nazi Germany, they were instrumental in developing the field as something separate from the behavioral and psychoanalytic schools that were dominant during that time, social psychology has always maintained the legacy of their interests in perception and cognition. Attitudes and small group phenomena were the most studied topics in this era.
During World War II, social psychologists studied persuasion and propaganda for the U. S. military. After the war, researchers became interested in a variety of social problems, including gender issues and racial prejudice. Most notable and contentious of these were the Stanley Milgram shock experiments on obedience to authority. In the sixties, there was growing interest in new topics, such as cognitive dissonance, bystander intervention, aggression. By the 1970s, social psychology in America had reached a crisis. There was heated debate over the ethics of laboratory experimentation, whether or not attitudes predicted behavior, how much science could be done in a cultural context; this was the time when a radical situationist approach challenged the relevance of self and personality in psychology. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s social psychology reached a more mature level. Two of the areas social psychology matured in were methods. Careful ethical standards now regulate research. Pluralistic and multicultural perspectives have emerged.
Modern researchers are interested in many phenomena, but attribution, social cognition, the self-concept are the greatest areas of growth in recent years. Social psychologists have maintained their applied interests with contributions in the social psychology of health, education and the workplace. In social psychology, attitudes are defined as learned, global evaluations of a person, place, or issue that influence thought and action. Put more attitudes are basic expressions of approval or disapproval, favorability or unfavorability, or as Bem put it, likes and dislikes. Examples would include liking chocolate ice cream, or endorsing the values of a particular political party. Social psychologists have studied attitude formation, the structure of attitudes, attitude change, the function of attitudes, the relationship between attitudes and behavior; because people are influenced by the situation, general attitudes are not always good predictors of specific behavior. For example, for a variety of reasons, a person may value the environment but not recycle a can on a particular day.
In recent times, research on attitudes has examined the distinction between traditional, self-reported attitude measures and "implicit" or unconscious attitudes. For example, experiments using the Implicit Association Test have found that people demonstrate implicit bias against other races when their explicit responses
A cognitive distortion is an exaggerated or irrational thought pattern involved in the onset and perpetuation of psychopathological states those more influenced by psychosocial factors, such as depression and anxiety. Psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck laid the groundwork for the study of these distortions, his student David D. Burns continued research on the topic. Burns, in The Feeling Good Handbook, described personal and professional anecdotes related to cognitive distortions and their elimination. Cognitive distortions are thoughts. According to the cognitive model of Beck, a negative outlook on reality, sometimes called negative schemas, is a factor in symptoms of emotional dysfunction and poorer subjective well-being. Negative thinking patterns cause negative emotions. During difficult circumstances, these distorted thoughts can contribute to an overall negative outlook on the world and a depressive or anxious mental state. Challenging and changing cognitive distortions is a key element of cognitive behavioral therapy.
In 1972, psychiatrist and cognitive therapy scholar Aaron T. Beck published Depression: Causes and Treatment, he was dissatisfied with the conventional Freudian treatment of depression, because there was no empirical evidence for the success of Freudian psychoanalysis. Beck's book provided a comprehensive and empirically supported theoretical model for depression—its potential causes and treatments. In Chapter 2, titled "Symptomatology of Depression", he described "cognitive manifestations" of depression, including low self-evaluation, negative expectations, self-blame and self-criticism and distortion of the body image. In 1980 Burns published Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, nine years The Feeling Good Handbook, both of which built on Beck's work; the cognitive distortions listed below are categories of automatic thinking, are to be distinguished from logical fallacies. Being wrong is unthinkable; this cognitive distortion is characterized by trying to prove one's actions or thoughts to be correct, sometimes prioritizing self-interest over the feelings of another person.
The opposite of personalization. Thinking something is true based on a feeling. Example: "I feel stupid or boring, therefore I must be" feeling that fear of flying in planes means planes are a dangerous way to travel, or concluding that it's hopeless to clean one's house due to being overwhelmed by the prospect of cleaning. Relying on social control to obtain cooperative actions from another person This is the belief that life should be fair and produces upset or angry emotions when life is perceived as failing to be fair and breaking rules to the playing field that leads to long term ramifications Focusing on negative elements of a situation to the exclusion of the positive; the brain's tendency to filter information that does not conform to already-held beliefs. Reaching preliminary conclusions with little evidence. Two specific subtypes are identified: Mind reading: Inferring a person's possible or probable thoughts from his or her behavior and nonverbal communication. Example: A student assumes that the readers of his or her paper have made up their minds concerning its topic, therefore, writing the paper is a pointless exercise.
Fortune-telling: predicting outcomes of events A form of overgeneralization. Rather than assuming the behavior to be accidental or otherwise extrinsic, one assigns a label to someone or something, based on the inferred character of that person or thing. Giving proportionally greater weight to a perceived failure, weakness or threat, or lesser weight to a perceived success, strength or opportunity, so that the weight differs from that assigned by others, such as "making a mountain out of a molehill". In depressed clients the positive characteristics of other people are exaggerated and their negative characteristics are understated. Catastrophizing – Giving greater weight to the worst possible outcome, however unlikely, or experiencing a situation as unbearable or impossible when it is just uncomfortable Making hasty generalizations from insufficient evidence. Drawing a broad conclusion from a single incident or a single piece of evidence. If something bad happens only once, it is expected to happen over and over again.
Example: A woman is lonely and spends most of her time at home. Her friends sometimes ask her to meet new people, she feels it is useless to try. No one could like her. Attributing personal responsibility, including the resulting praise or blame, to events over which the person has no control. Making'must' or should' statements was included by Albert Ellis in his rational emotive behavior therapy, an early form of CBT. Michael C. Graham called it "expecting the world to be different than it is", it can be seen as demanding particular achievements or behaviours regardless of the realistic circumstances of the situation. Example: After a performance, a concert pianist believes he or she should not have made so many mistakes. In Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, David
Mathematical psychology is an approach to psychological research, based on mathematical modeling of perceptual, thought and motor processes, on the establishment of law-like rules that relate quantifiable stimulus characteristics with quantifiable behavior. The mathematical approach is used with the goal of deriving hypotheses that are more exact and thus yield stricter empirical validations. Quantifiable behavior is in practice constituted by task performance; as quantification of behavior is fundamental in this endeavor, the theory of measurement is a central topic in mathematical psychology. Mathematical psychology is therefore related to psychometrics. However, where psychometrics is concerned with individual differences in static variables, mathematical psychology focuses on process models of perceptual and motor processes as inferred from the'average individual'. Furthermore, where psychometrics investigates the stochastic dependence structure between variables as observed in the population, mathematical psychology exclusively focuses on the modeling of data obtained from experimental paradigms and is therefore more related to experimental psychology/cognitive psychology/psychonomics.
Like computational neuroscience and econometrics, mathematical psychology theory uses statistical optimality as a guiding principle, assuming that the human brain has evolved to solve problems in an optimized way. Central themes from cognitive psychology. Mathematical psychologists are active in many fields of psychology in psychophysics and perception, problem solving, decision-making, learning and language, collectively known as cognitive psychology, the quantitative analysis of behavior but e.g. in clinical psychology, social psychology, psychology of music. Mathematical modeling has a long history in psychology starting in the 19th century with Ernst Weber and Gustav Fechner being among the first to apply successful mathematical technique of functional equations from physics to psychological processes, they thereby established the fields of experimental psychology in general, that of psychophysics in particular. Researchers in astronomy in the 19th century were mapping distances between stars by denoting the exact time of a star's passing of a cross-hair on a telescope.
For lack of the automatic registration instruments of the modern era, these time measurements relied on human response speed. It had been noted that there were small systematic differences in the times measured by different astronomers, these were first systematically studied by German astronomer Friedrich Bessel. Bessel constructed personal equations from measurements of basic response speed that would cancel out individual differences from the astronomical calculations. Independently, physicist Hermann von Helmholtz measured reaction times to determine nerve conduction speed; these two lines of work came together in the research of Dutch physiologist F. C. Donders and his student J. J. de Jaager, who recognized the potential of reaction times for more or less objectively quantifying the amount of time elementary mental operations required. Donders envisioned the employment of his mental chronometry to scientifically infer the elements of complex cognitive activity by measurement of simple reaction timeThe first psychological laboratory was established in Germany by Wilhelm Wundt, who amply used Donders' ideas.
However, findings that came from the laboratory were hard to replicate and this was soon attributed to the method of introspection that Wundt introduced. Some of the problems resulted from individual differences in response speed found by astronomers. Although Wundt did not seem to take interest in these individual variations and kept his focus on the study of the general human mind, Wundt's U. S. student James McKeen Cattell was fascinated by these differences and started to work on them during his stay in England. The failure of Wundt's method of introspection led to the rise of different schools of thought. Wundt's laboratory was directed towards conscious human experience, in line with the work of Fechner and Weber on the intensity of stimuli. In the United Kingdom, under the influence of the anthropometric developments led by Francis Galton, interest focussed on individual differences between humans on psychological variables, in line with the work of Bessel. Cattell soon helped laying the foundation of psychometrics.
In the United States, behaviorism arose in opposition to introspectionism and associated reaction-time research, turned the focus of psychological research to learning theory. In Europe introspection survived in Gestalt psychology. Behaviorism dominated American psychology until the end of the Second World War, refrained from inference on mental processes. Formal theories were absent. During the war, developments in engineering, mathematical logic and computability theory, computer science and mathematics, the military need to understand human performance and limitations, brought together experimental psychologists, engineers and economists. Out of this mix of different disciplines mathematical psychology arose; the developments in signal processing, information theory, linear systems and filter theory, game theory, stochastic processes and mathematical logic gained a large influence on psychological thinking. Two seminal papers on learning theory in Psychological Review helped to establish the field
Behavioural genetics referred to as behaviour genetics, is a field of scientific research that uses genetic methods to investigate the nature and origins of individual differences in behaviour. While the name "behavioural genetics" connotes a focus on genetic influences, the field broadly investigates genetic and environmental influences, using research designs that allow removal of the confounding of genes and environment. Behavioural genetics was founded as a scientific discipline by Francis Galton in the late 19th century, only to be discredited through association with eugenics movements before and during World War II. In the latter half of the 20th century, the field saw renewed prominence with research on inheritance of behaviour and mental illness in humans, as well as research on genetically informative model organisms through selective breeding and crosses. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, technological advances in molecular genetics made it possible to measure and modify the genome directly.
This led to major advances in model organism research and in human studies, leading to new scientific discoveries. Findings from behavioural genetic research have broadly impacted modern understanding of the role of genetic and environmental influences on behaviour; these include evidence that nearly all researched behaviors are under a significant degree of genetic influence, that influence tends to increase as individuals develop into adulthood. Further, most researched human behaviours are influenced by a large number of genes and the individual effects of these genes are small. Environmental influences play a strong role, but they tend to make family members more different from one another, not more similar. Selective breeding and the domestication of animals is the earliest evidence that humans considered the idea that individual differences in behaviour could be due to natural causes. Plato and Aristotle each speculated on the basis and mechanisms of inheritance of behavioural characteristics.
Plato, for example, argued in The Republic that selective breeding among the citizenry to encourage the development of some traits and discourage others, what today might be called eugenics, was to be encouraged in the pursuit of an ideal society. Behavioural genetic concepts existed during the English renaissance, where William Shakespeare first coined the terms "nature" versus "nurture" in The Tempest, where he wrote in Act IV, Scene I, that Caliban was "A devil, a born devil, on whose nature Nurture can never stick". Modern-day behavioural genetics began with Sir Francis Galton, a nineteenth-century intellectual and cousin of Charles Darwin. Galton was a polymath who studied many subjects, including the heritability of human abilities and mental characteristics. One of Galton's investigations involved a large pedigree study of social and intellectual achievement in the English upper class. In 1869, 10 years after Darwin's On the Origin of Species, Galton published his results in Hereditary Genius.
In this work, Galton found that the rate of "eminence" was highest among close relatives of eminent individuals, decreased as the degree of relationship to eminent individuals decreased. While Galton could not rule out the role of environmental influences on eminence, a fact which he acknowledged, the study served to initiate an important debate about the relative roles of genes and environment on behavioural characteristics. Through his work, Galton "introduced multivariate analysis and paved the way towards modern Bayesian statistics" that are used throughout the sciences—launching what has been dubbed the "Statistical Enlightenment"; the field of behavioural genetics, as founded by Galton, was undermined by another of Galton's intellectual contributions, the founding of the eugenics movement in 20th century society. The primary idea behind eugenics was to use selective breeding combined with knowledge about the inheritance of behaviour to improve the human species; the eugenics movement was subsequently discredited by scientific corruption and genocidal actions in Nazi Germany.
Behavioural genetics was thereby discredited through its association to eugenics. The field once again gained status as a distinct scientific discipline through the publication of early texts on behavioural genetics, such as Calvin S. Hall's 1951 book chapter on behavioural genetics, in which he introduced the term "psychogenetics", which enjoyed some limited popularity in the 1960s and 1970s. However, it disappeared from usage in favour of "behaviour genetics"; the start of behavior genetics as a well-identified field was marked by the publication in 1960 of the book Behavior Genetics by John L. Fuller and William Robert Thompson, it is accepted now that many if not most behaviours in animals and humans are under significant genetic influence, although the extent of genetic influence for any particular trait can differ widely. A decade in February 1970, the first issue of the journal Behavior Genetics was published and in 1972 the Behavior Genetics Association was formed with Theodosius Dobzhansky elected as the association's first president.
The field has since diversified, touching many scientific disciplines. The primary goal of behavioural genetics is to investigate the nature and origins of individual differences in behaviour. A wide variety of different methodological approaches are used in behavioral genetic research, only a few of which are outlined below. Animal behavior genetic studies are considered more reliable than are studies on humans, because animal experiments allow for more variables to be manipulated in the laboratory. In animal research selection experiments have been employed
Music psychology, or the psychology of music, may be regarded as a branch of both psychology and musicology. It aims to explain and understand musical behaviour and experience, including the processes through which music is perceived, responded to, incorporated into everyday life. Musicology is the study of music.. Encyclopædia Britannica. If the word "ology" is "the study of" Musicology is the study of music; that is the way scientist defined it. Music is everywhere: in movies, advertisement, on your phones. There is a variety of studies of music, such as adolescent influence, culture psychology, personality psychology, etc. Modern music psychology is empirical. Music psychology is a field of research with practical relevance for many areas, including music performance, education and therapy, as well as investigations of human attitude, performance, intelligence and social behavior. Music psychology can shed light on non-psychological aspects of musical practice. For example, it contributes to music theory through investigations of the perception and computational modelling of musical structures such as melody, tonality, rhythm and form.
Research in music history can benefit from systematic study of the history of musical syntax, or from psychological analyses of composers and compositions in relation to perceptual and social responses to their music. Ethnomusicology can benefit from psychological approaches to the study of music cognition in different cultures; the study of sound and musical phenomenon prior to the 19th century was focused on the mathematical modelling of pitch and tone. The earliest recorded experiments date from the 6th century BCE, most notably in the work of Pythagoras and his establishment of the simple string length ratios that formed the consonances of the octave; this view that sound and music could be understood from a purely physical standpoint was echoed by such theorists as Anaxagoras and Boethius. An important early dissenter was Aristoxenus, who foreshadowed modern music psychology in his view that music could only be understood through human perception and its relation to human memory. Despite his views, the majority of musical education through the Middle Ages and Renaissance remained rooted in the Pythagorean tradition through the quadrivium of astronomy, geometry and music.
Research by Vincenzo Galilei demonstrated that, when string length was held constant, varying its tension, thickness, or composition could alter perceived pitch. From this he argued that simple ratios were not enough to account for musical phenomenon and that a perceptual approach was necessary, he claimed that the differences between various tuning systems were not perceivable, thus the disputes were unnecessary. Study of topics including vibration, the harmonic series, resonance were furthered through the scientific revolution, including work by Galileo, Kepler and Descartes; this included further speculation concerning the nature of the sense organs and higher-order processes by Savart and Koenig. The latter 19th century saw the development of modern music psychology alongside the emergence of a general empirical psychology, one which passed through similar stages of development; the first was structuralist psychology, led by Wilhelm Wundt, which sought to break down experience into its smallest definable parts.
This expanded upon previous centuries of acoustic study, included Helmholtz developing the resonator to isolate and understand pure and complex tones and their perception, the philosopher Carl Stumpf using church organs and his own musical experience to explore timbre and absolute pitch, Wundt himself associating the experience of rhythm with kinesthetic tension and relaxation. As structuralism gave way to Gestalt psychology and behaviorism at the turn of the century, music psychology moved beyond the study of isolated tones and elements to the perception of their inter-relationships and human reactions to them, though work languished behind that of visual perception. In Europe Géza Révész and Albert Wellek developed a more complex understanding of musical pitch, in the US the focus shifted to that of music education and the training and development of musical skill. Carl Seashore led this work, producing his The Measurement of Musical Talents and The Psychology of Musical Talent. Seashore used bespoke equipment and standardized tests to measure how performance deviated from indicated markings and how musical aptitude differed between students.
In 1963 F. Chrysler was the first one to used the term " science of music" when he was working on his "year book for musical" knowledge. European musicology was found in Greek, they were focus on the philosophy, the concepts of any relations with music. Greek's several theories rose on to Arab and the Christians Theories. Although their theories survived, they were corrupted along the way, in the Middle Ages of Europe. Music psychology in the second half of the 20th century has expanded to cover a wide array of theoretical and applied areas. From the 1960s the field grew along with cognitive science, including such research areas as music perception, musical development and aptitude, music performance, affective responses to music; this period has seen the founding of m
Traffic psychology is a discipline of psychology that studies the relationship between psychological processes and the behavior of road users. In general, traffic psychology aims to apply theoretical aspects of psychology in order to improve traffic mobility by helping to develop and apply accident countermeasures, as well as by guiding desired behaviors through education and the motivation of road users. Behavior is studied in conjunction with accident research in order to assess causes and differences in accident involvement. Traffic psychologists distinguish three motivations of driver behavior: reasoned or planned behavior, impulsive or emotional behavior, habitual behavior. Additionally and cognitive applications of psychology are used, such as enforcement, road safety education campaigns, therapeutic and rehabilitation programs. Broad theories of cognition, sensory-motor and neurological aspects psychology are applied to the field of traffic psychology. Studies of factors such as attention, spatial cognition, stress, distracting/ambiguous stimuli and secondary tasks such as phone conversations are used to understand and investigate the experience and actions of road users.
Traffic psychology deals with the noncognitive and sensory-motor aspects of people in the context of driving, dealing with traffic, dealing with others. By identifying feelings that cause cognitive thoughts, traffic psychology allows the understanding of resulting actions and gives a way of modifying behavior. Traffic psychology can be defined as a tool that through subjective analysis, helps to increase the overall quality of lives through behavioral observation and modification; the task of traffic psychology is to understand and provide measures to modify road user behavior at levels identified with as general objective to minimize the harmful effects of traffic participation. Behavior research in traffic psychology deals with subjects like motivation and gender differences, overconfidence and skill differences and violation of traffic rules. A classification of behavioral factors into those that reduce driving capability and those that promote risky behavior with further division into those with short- and long-term impact helps the conceptualization of the problems and may contribute to the prioritization of behavior modification.
Traffic and transport sciences concern themselves with the study, comprehension and prediction of everything related to the mobility of people and products. It incorporates several aspects of the transportation systems along with multiple techniques; this process attempts to develop valid and reliable methods to better understand and predict the effects of human variability with its environmental interactions on safety. The transportation system consists of road, rail and air infrastructures, it includes the possibilities and limitations of its economics and regulations, which sets barriers to the capabilities of an individual and mass motorist. For instance, speed can be influenced by method of travel, by financial capabilities for the type of vehicle, or by regulations such as speed limits in rural areas versus city driving; the traffic environment takes into account location, time constraints and dangers that are exposed to motorist. These environmental factors pose risk to motorists that may be fatal.
Driving in wet and dark conditions exposes drivers to far greater risk than driving on a sunny day on an open road. This is just one type of road factor for crashes that Sullman goes on to explain in further detail: …crashes include lack of visibility or obstructions, unclean road or loose material, poor road conditions or road markings, the horizontal curvature of the road. Environmental influences such as cold or hot weather and vibration are all more to impact on stress and fatigue states Variability of the driver’s age, temperament and expertise affect speed and decisions. Drivers use some degree of risk compensation to assess driving decisions and it is skewed by varying levels of intoxication. Alcohol and drug usage and fatigue, distraction and focus are a few of the main factors attributed to driver error and crashes. In addition to behavior research, accident research is a component in traffic psychology, looking at driving methodology, individual differences, characteristics of personality, temporary impairments, relevant capabilities, the driver as an information processor, human factors on highway accidents, the pedestrian.
Examination of the operator plays a large role in transportation psychology. While many external factors influence traffic safety, internal factors are significant; some factors include: Decision-making Demographics Distraction Detection Thresholds Drugs and alcohol Driving training and experience Familiarity with vehicle and environment Fatigue Inattention Perception-reaction time Response to the unexpected Risky behaviors Stress and panic Linking brain regions and circuits with behaviors involved in operating a vehicle is one of the more salient topics of research within traffic psychology. Seven separate brain networks have been identified in driving simulations as being of importance to the neurophysiological processes involved in driving; the networks each have a unique function as outlined by Porter: The parietoccipital sulcus is involved in visual monitoring, motor cortex and cerebellar areas—for gr