Attentional control, high intensity pleasure, and risky pedestrian behavior in college students

Academic Article


  • Individual differences in temperament and personality are closely linked to motor vehicle safety. However, 13% of Americans who die in transportation-related injuries are not killed in motor vehicle crashes, but rather in pedestrian injuries. This study was designed to study links between two individual difference measures, attentional control and high intensity pleasure, and pedestrian injury risk among college students, a group at particular risk of pedestrian injury. A sample of 245 students completed a temperament questionnaire and engaged in a street-crossing task within an interactive, immersive virtual pedestrian environment. Individuals scoring high on attentional control (the capacity to focus and shift attention, one facet of conscientiousness) waited longer to choose gaps to cross within and showed some tendency to choose larger gaps after waiting. Individuals scoring high in high intensity pleasure (the tendency to desire novel, complex, and varied stimuli, one facet of sensation-seeking) were more likely to experience collisions with traffic in the virtual environment. Theoretical and applied implications are discussed. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Schwebel DC; Stavrinos D; Kongable EM
  • Start Page

  • 658
  • End Page

  • 661
  • Volume

  • 41
  • Issue

  • 3