The Affective, Cognitive, and Sensory-Motor
- One principle of traffic psychology is that driving behavior includes
the affective domain
(feelings, motives) The cognitive domain (thoughts and Judgements), and the sensory-motor
domain (sensory input and motor out put). All three of these things can be found in any given
traffic incident. Let's look at Aaron
Takahashi's report on tailgating.
On September 22, 1995 I
suddenely observed myself tailgating someone as I was driving home from the
U.H. I couldn't see the person's mole on their face but I was closer than
I would normally want to be to another vehicle. The reason for this was
that I was in the middle of a lot of traffic and I didn't want to be the
cause of a traffic jam so I kept up with the flow of traffic as best as I
could. I also found that I wanted to follow so close that nobody would be
able to cut in front of me, in other words, I was there first and it didn't
make sense that someone behind me could beat me somewhere bacause I let him in.
Upon analysis all three of the psychological domains can be seen in this
example. Aaron feels that he is or could
be causing traffic (the affective domain), then decides that he doesn't "want" to be the cause of a
traffic jam (cognitive domain) which leads to the sensory-motor response of keeping up, "as best
as I could." There is also another A-C-S loop present. He feels that it would be unfair for
someone else to get ahead of him (the affective), so he thinks he should follow so closely that no
one can cut in (the cognitive) and then proceeds to tailgate (the sensory-motor).
- Another example comes from Berna Collado
. She says, I notice that I speed on an empty freeway, especially when my
destination is towards the North Shore where there seems to be less cars and more area to drive.
I also like the surroundings which gives a sense of openness. In her example the
open road makes her feel more comfortable (the affective), this leads to her thinking she can go
faster and still be in control (the cognitive), which in turn leads to her speeding (the sensory-motor).
- So, in each case all three of the psychological domains are present
and effect each other.
The A-C connection (the casual link between the affective domain and the cognitive domain) is
the root of the cycle where changes can be instituted consciously. We can chose consciously to
have control over our thoughts and feelings and thus effect changes in
our actions (the sensory-motor) through conscious control.
- Contol and behavior modification are obtianed through the sujective
analysis of the relavant affective, cognative, and sensory-motor domains
in a given situation. By subjectifying the situation we are able to learn
the root of the problem and employ affective and cognative
countermeasures in the form alternate A-C connections which will lead to
alternate sensory-motor manifestations. Herein lies the power of Traffic
Psychology. By identifying the real cause of the problem we are enpowered
to make changes that go to the heart of the problem instead of just
covering them up or pushing them aside. Modifying the A-C-S loop to avoid
the negative respones allows for effective behavior modification and
change in the long run. It also allows for change in the future if the
situation changes. The subjective nature of Traffic psychology makes it
timeless tool that can be utilized in All situations .
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