98th Annual Meeting DOG 2000

R 296

Vision and perception in road traffic – the contribution of traffic psychology and its overlap with ophthalmology

H. D. Sömen, J. Brenner-Hartmann

If there is doubt about the road users’ fitness emerging from vision tests, traffic psychology is in demand. Special focus in the examination of fitness is laid upon visual perception. Correct action and reaction are of major importance in road traffic; therefore reliable orientation and quick perception of signs and signals are elementary preconditions. One of the tasks of traffic psychology is the development of suitable tests to measure the results produced by neuronal signals after passing the optical apparatus of the eye. The tests administered and the specific type of standardization are meant to ensure that neuro-psychological impairments may be detected and that their impact on traffic safety are adequately evaluated.

There are overlaps of ophthalmology with traffic psychology and vice versa. The psychologist has to ask the ophthalmologist whether conspicuous test results are a consequence of an impairment of vision; the ophthalmologist will have to ask the traffic psychologist whether impairments of vision may be compensated by above-average processing of signals - representing an adequate central perception of complex structures. The psychological question is to which extent attitudes and behavior may compensate impairment of vision and perception.

Medizinisch-Psychologisches Institut GmbH, Unternehmensgruppe TÜV Süddeutschland, Westendstrasse 199, D - 80686 München