Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

John Flach (Committee Chair), Rik Warren (Committee Member), Scott Watamaniuk (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


A driving simulator was used to understand the way humans control collisions. Based on the research of Smith et al. (2001), and McKenna (2004), this study altered distance to and size of a target to determine if optical angle and expansion rate were used independently to control behavior in a collision event rather than combined into a single variable, tau, as suggested by Lee (1976). Furthermore, edge rate as defined by Denton (1980) and global optical flow rate (GOFR) (Warren, 1982) were considered as possible visual sources of egomotion information. Similar to the results found by McKenna (2004), participants appeared to use bang-bang control in controlling the simulated automobile (full acceleration followed by full braking). Data also suggests that participants utilize angle and expansion rate as independent sources of information. Manipulation of GOFR and edge rate information did not influence performance in this simulation. Possibilities for future research are discussed.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Psychology

Year Degree Awarded