Skip to content
COVID-19 Updates and Resources

Psychology

Psychology Research

Human Factors Research

Clemson Human Factors Research Psychology

  • Human Factors Institute

    The Institute was formed by Clemson University faculty conducting research in human factors and ergonomics. There is an Institute Director and Associate Director. All other faculty members of the institute are considered Institute Associates. Graduate and undergraduate students who play a significant role in the Institute through funded research are named Fellows and Junior Fellows of the Institute respectively. The Institute received official approval through Clemson University’s Board of Directors and South Carolina’s Commission of Higher Education and began operations on January 15, 2009.

    Visit the Human Factors Institute

  • Aging and Human Factors

    The Institute for Engaged Aging

    The Institute for Engaged Aging aims to discover, develop and disseminate best practices for engaged aging through research, education and community outreach. Institute initiatives will enable older adults to be engaged in family and community living regardless of their social, economic, or health status. IEA Website

    Age-Related Changes in Cognitive Abilities & Everyday Technology Performance

    Cognitive abilities underlie performance in everyday tasks. How do age-related changes in abilities (e.g., memory, spatial abilities, verbal abilities) affect older adults' ability to use everyday technologies? In addition, how do other age-related differences cause differences in how we use highly automated technologies such as smartphones and GPS? Richard Pak

    How does decision-making and reward motivation change across the lifespan

    One goal of our aging research is to identify mechanisms of cognitive aging and work to develop effective interventions to maintain healthy cognitive functioning as one ages.  We also examine how aging affects health-related and financial decisions strategies, cognitive biases, susceptibility to misinformation, and responsivity to feedback. Kaileigh Byrne

    Older Adult Technology Acceptance and Age-friendly Design

    Technology is ever increasingly part of our modern lives. Technology has the potential to make many of our daily tasks easier and more enjoyable, increases our ability to be socially connected with loved ones and the world around us, and can help us be more productive and fulfilled members of society. These benefits are only realized if we accept and use it though, and many older adults choose not to do so, frequently citing usability concerns and frustrations. Often, designers focus explicitly on younger target audiences when designing their products at the exclusion of older users who may stand to benefit more from adopting certain technologies. Research on how best to implement universal design practices and include older adults in the design process can not only make new technologies more accessible and acceptable to older users, but more user-friendly to a wider audience as well.  Dustin Souders

  • Driving Research

    Driving Distraction

    Does talking on a cell phone, talking with a passenger, or using an in-vehicle navigation system really distract drivers’ attention from the road? We use both low and high-fidelity driving simulators to understand how drivers maintain attention and situation awareness in the face of distraction. Lee Gugerty

    Fatigue and Driving

    One part of my stress and fatigue research program includes investigating the effects of sleep deprivation and daytime sleepiness on driving skills under a variety of driving conditions (e.g., different types of roads, traffic conditions, and weather conditions). The goal of this research is to document the effects of fatigue on driving and to develop potential methods of monitoring and preventing sleepiness while driving. June J. Pilcher

    Night Vision and Driving

    Driving at night is substantially more dangerous than driving in daylight. We study how well drivers see at night and how our night vision affects our ability to drive safely. For example, we are studying how visible and conspicuous pedestrians and bicyclists are to drivers, and we are exploring new ways to make vulnerable road users safer at night. We do experiments outdoors at night and in daylight, and we also use innovative lab-based methods indoors. Rick Tyrrell

    Vision in Challenging Conditions

    How well do we see in fog? Is the glare from the headlights of oncoming vehicles debilitating or just annoying? And when should we use our high beams? How does our ability to see change as we grow older? We study the limitations of human vision, ways to compensate for our visual limitations and the extent to which we are aware of our own visual limitations. Rick Tyrrell

    Emergent Advanced Vehicle Technologies and the Driver

    Prior to the last decade, the driving task had changed little since its inception. The integration of more in-vehicle technologies and higher levels of automation over that time have promised more convenience and safety while driving, but fundamentally change the relationship between the driver and the driving task like never before. Using a high-fidelity driving simulator along with other tools and methods, we research how human driving performance and situation awareness is affected by the use of advanced vehicle technologies, ranging from the advanced driver assistance systems found in vehicles today (e.g., adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and blind spot monitors) to the more fully automated vehicles of tomorrow.  Dustin Souders

  • Health/Medical Human Factors

    Blood pressure-associated emotional dampening

    We are doing psychophysiological studies of blood pressure-associated emotional dampening and its effects on threat appraisal and risk-taking behaviors.  We have linked blood pressure to general health risks, risky driving in a driving simulator, and financial risk-taking.  Our latest studies seek to link laboratory assessments of blood pressure, depression, and simulated risk to COVID-19 risk-taking and risk-mitigating behavior. James McCubbin

  • Study of Health Aging & Applied Research Programs (SHAARP):

    The SHAARP Lab examines methods to maintain older adults' independence and mobility. We focus primarily on cognitive and functional abilities that may be modifiable through targeted interventions. We are currently examining mobile cognitive and everyday functioning assessments as well as the impact of various cognitive intervention programs on cognitive, physical, and health outcomes in older adults. We are particularly interested in the real-world implications of our findings. We are seeking graduate and undergraduate research assistants! Please see www.SHAARP.org for more information. Lesley Ross

  • Psychological Pressure and Decision-Making

    How do stress, time pressure, and social pressure affect decision-making strategies? Can we develop interventions, using technology and decision aids, to mitigate the negative effects of psychological pressure on decision-making?  Under which conditions are such interventions effective? This research seeks to answer these questions using basic and physiological research approaches. Kaileigh Byrne

  • Robotics and Teleoperation

    Social Aspects of Human-Robot Collaboration

    A new class of robots are designed to work alongside humans to accomplish tasks (e.g., factory assembly, home care, etc) and for entertainment. How can we ensure that the human-robot collaboration is as productive, safe and enjoyable as possible? Richard Pak

    Human Factors of Teleoperation

    How much information is lost when viewing the world through the ‘eyes’ of a robot? Our research focuses on answering this question and discovering ways to improve the performance of operators while teleoperating remote robots. Our group is currently performing both basic and applied research studies focused on this issue. Christopher Pagano

  • Spatial Cognition

    I’m supposed to meet someone at the east entrance of city hall, but which entrance is that? I’m lost but I can see where those two landmarks ahead of me are located on this map; so where am I on the map? We have studied how jet pilots, operators of remotely piloted vehicles (UAVs) and students perform tasks like these. Lee Gugerty

  • Vision Research

    Vision, Attention, and Conspicuity

    We explore the application of basic vision science, attention, and conspicuity for assessment of safety and for forensic applications. Ben Stephens

    Depth Perception in Virtual Environments

    Our research focuses on human depth perception in virtual environments, particularly in near-field (within arm’s reach). Our group is also researching ways to remedy observed discrepancies between distance estimates in a virtual environment compared to a real world viewing environment. Various applications include laparoscopic surgery simulators, teleoperation, physical rehab in a virtual environment, etc. Christopher Pagano

    Perception for Action

    Our research focuses on how humans interact with their environments and perceive capabilities for action. For example, how do we know if we can pass through a narrow doorway or a narrow gap in traffic? And, how do we know how far away objects are? Our group aims to answer these types of questions through the use of virtual reality and experiments conducted in the real world.

  • Work-Related Stress

    Stress and Fatigue

    Almost any topic related to stress and fatigue in humans can capture my interest. My students and I are currently investigating a wide range of topics in relation to stress and fatigue including sleep habits, sleep deprivation, thermal stress, attentional processes, motivation, engagement, cognitive & emotional functioning, decision making, logical and moral reasoning, social functioning, social support, and health and well-being. These topics are applicable in educational settings, work settings, shift work and daily life. As applied-oriented researchers, our overall purpose is to provide preventative measures that can be used in many work, education and social settings to improve performance, health and well-being. June J. Pilcher

    Multidimensional (3D) Displays and Visual Cognition

    Can multidimensional (3D) displays improve our visual cognitive abilities? Recent work has suggested that organizing visual information by depth can augment our working memory ability. Our work in this area focuses on expanding the current understanding of how depth information can help (or hurt) performance on a variety of cognitive tasks. This understanding will allow us to make design recommendations involving the implementation of multidimensional displays. Dawn Sarno

    Cybersecurity and Phishing

    The limited cybersecurity research that has been conducted in the realm of psychology has demonstrated that most email users are extremely poor at detecting phishing emails.  Our works focuses on why email users have such poor sensitivity to phishing emails, and how we can make them more resilient for when spam filters inevitably fail. Dawn Sarno

  • Exercise in the Workplace

    Movement While Working

    Modern society often creates a dichotomy for exercise and working. With the exception of professional athletes, usually one does not think of movement or exercise while working. My research project is trying to change that. We are using FitDesks (stationary desks with a desk top) on campus and in K-12 schools to encourage students to be active but at a low level (i.e., no sweating allowed) while studying. We are also placing the FitDesks in work settings to encourage employees to be active while working. We use a wide range of measures to investigate how movement while working affects cognitive performance, attention, motivation, engagement, stress levels, emotional stability, health and well-being. As applied-oriented researchers, our overall purpose is to change educational and work settings to improve performance, health and well-being in students and workers. June J. Pilcher

Industrial - Organizational Research

Industrial Organizational Psychology research

  • Aging in the Workplace

    Retirement and the Return to Work

    In the next 40 years, the number of people 65 or older will double. How will this change the nature and length of work life? How can HR professionals meet the challenge of an aging labor force? We study the unique aspects of retiree work behavior and the incentives that draw them back into the workforce. Mary Anne Taylor

  • Diversity

    Stigma of Seeking Help for Psychological Problems in Different Environments

    Individuals with psychological problems will often avoid seeking treatment because of the stigma associated with admitting such problems. Our team has investigated the stigma associated with admitting psychological problems among individuals with less severe psychological difficulties among combat veterans and college students. We have also examined the stigma of seeking treatment for psychological problems in the work environment, and have found support for the hypothesis that individuals who report having problems but do not seek help report greater stigma than those who get help from various sources. We recently received a grant from the Department of Defense to study multiple reasons why military veterans do not receive needed treatment for psychological problems. Thomas W. Britt

    Cyber Bullying

    Whereas the traditional bully was most frequently encountered at school during school hours, a new bully is now on the scene. This bully is often anonymous and can bully his or her victim 24/7. Cyber bullying, also known as electronic bullying or online social cruelty, refers to bullying that occurs through electronic means, such as email, chat rooms, instant messages, web pages, and text messages sent to cell phones. As one victim of cyber bullying phrased it, the inability to escape cyber bullying without completely disconnecting from social communications means that one is forever tethered to one’s tormenter. Our research on cyber bullying examines the frequency with which it occurs, who is involved as victims and/or perpetrators and its consequences. Robin M. Kowalski

    Complaining

    Everyone complains, although clearly some people complain more than others. Even though complaining has negative connotations associated with it, there must be some benefit to complaining or people would not do it so often. Very little research within psychology has examined complaining. Thus, our research focuses on why people complain, the intrapersonal and interpersonal consequences of complaining, and who is most likely to complain. Robin M. Kowalski

    The Positive Psychology of Courage

    Courage is needed in many difficult situations, including saving others in physical peril, standing up for what is right and stepping outside one's comfort zone to try something new. Although courage has been praised throughout history, it turns out we know remarkably little about the psychology of this important virtue. My research examines courage as a multi-faceted construct, and I am currently working on developing and testing a model of courageous action. In other words, in a given situation, what will help someone behave more courageously? What factors determine (after the fact) if we label an action as courageous? These questions have application in a variety of applied settings including schools, the work place, therapy and coaching settings, and society at large. Cindy Pury

  • Motivation and Stamina

    Determinants and Consequences of Self-Engagement

    What determines whether individuals become personally engaged in activities such as work, voting and relationships? Our program of research examines the predictors and consequences of engagement in different areas. We have published articles addressing engagement at work, among soldiers in military operations and in voting and academic tests. Thomas W. Britt

    Meaningful work and Stressors among Emergency Medicine Physicians

    I have begun a program of research examining meaningful work as a buffer against the negative effects of workplace stressors among emergency medicine physicians as part of my collaborations with Prisma Health. In addition, I have examined how the chronotype (whether an individual is a morning person or evening person) of emergency medicine personnel, in conjunction with shift work, is related to the negative effects of sleep disruption, and whether problems with infertility are greater in female emergency medicine physicians as a result of the unique stressors impacting the specialty. Thomas W. Britt

    Judgment and motivation

    Harry Copland once said, "there are old pilots and there are bold pilots but there are no old, bold pilots." In other words, lots of real-time activities like flying, driving and working depend in large part on good judgment and fail due to bad judgment. I’m interested in how people make judgments including predictions of their future performance, predictions of their future experiences and assessments of risk. I’m researching how those judgments affect their motivation, decisions and actions. I’m also looking at how technical and scientific models of risk and prediction are communicated to non-technical stakeholders so that they can make better decisions. Fred Switzer

     

  • Organization and Team Behavior

    Organizational Stress, Motivation, Performance and Resiliency

    Employees encounter stress in virtually all occupations, but certain occupations can be characterized as “high stress.”  Soldiers deployed on combat operations and foreign language analysts working for the U.S. government to uncover intelligence vital to national security represent two groups of individuals who experience high levels of stress at work. Our research in this area addresses factors that enhance the resiliency of personnel in high stress environments. These factors include high quality leadership, performing meaningful work, and a sense of optimism and hope that a mission is succeeding. Our ultimate goal is to design organizational stress interventions that will reduce the levels of stress facing employees and allow them to thrive under stress that cannot be avoided. Thomas W. Britt

    Employment Interview Content and Processes

    What personal characteristics do interviewers try to assess in an employment interview, and how well do they measure these things? What do interviewees do to try to manage the impression they make on interviewers, and are these attempts successful? Although the interview remains the most popular personnel selection technique, relatively little is known about the quality of the information obtained in interviews. Pat Raymark

    Infrastructure Resilience

    One of the biggest challenges facing our country is making our infrastructure (electricity, water, gas, transportation, cyber, etc.) more resilient to natural and human-made disasters. These infrastructure systems are physical but they’re also human - in the form of teams of operators, maintenance, and management personnel. Along with engineers, computer scientists, mathematicians, and others, psychologists are helping make our infrastructure systems more resilient. Fred Switzer

    Quantitative Research Methods

    How can you tell statistically if a company is discriminating against minorities or women? Can you use machine learning to determine if company’s leadership program is working? Does an employment test that’s valid in the steel industry also work in the restaurant business? How do you know? When several studies of a phenomenon have different results how do you tell what is true? How do you predict how many of each type of employee you will need in one year? In five years? One of my research interests is quantitative methods in organizational research and how companies and researchers can use computational and mathematical methods to understand and solve problems. Fred Switzer

  • Personnel Selection

    Comparison of Assessment Methodologies

    What are the advantages and disadvantages of various assessment methodologies (e.g., paper-and-pencil tests, interviews, biodata, simulations), and do these advantages and disadvantages vary depending on what is being assessed (e.g., cognitive ability, job knowledge, emotional intelligence, personality, leadership)? Current research frequently confounds methods with content, such that we don’t know the most efficient and accurate way to assess personal characteristics within selection settings. Pat Raymark

  • Work-Related Stress

    Organizational Stress and Resiliency

    Employees and organizations face numerous demands as they attempt to excel. Our research program examines demands associated with high stress jobs (e.g., foreign language analysts, military personnel), as well as factors that sustain health and performance under difficult operational conditions. We are also involved in projects investigating how positive psychological states and stressors combine to predict health and performance among employees. Thomas W. Britt

    Psychophysiology, Occupational Health Psychology

    My research program is designed to examine the effects of stress and fatigue on normal human functioning at the physiological, behavioral and cognitive levels. Basic laboratory studies assess autonomic and neuroendocrine control of blood pressure, affects on regulation and pain sensitivity in persons at enhanced risk for hypertension, coronary heart disease and pain disorders. Applied studies assess the effects of occupational stress and fatigue on professional and executive performance. The overarching goal of applied studies is to design stress prevention and mitigation strategies to optimize human health and performance in difficult work environments. James McCubbin

    Stress and Fatigue

    Almost any topic related to stress and fatigue in humans can capture my interest. My students and I are currently investigating a wide range of topics in relation to stress and fatigue including sleep habits, sleep deprivation, thermal stress, attentional processes, motivation, engagement, cognitive and emotional functioning, decision making, logical and moral reasoning, social functioning, social support and health and well-being. These topics are applicable in educational settings, work settings, shift work and daily life. As applied-oriented researchers, our overall purpose is to provide preventative measures that can be used in many work, education and social settings to improve performance, health, and well-being. June J. Pilcher

    The Positive Psychology of Courage

    Courage is needed in many difficult situations, including saving others in physical peril, standing up for what is right and stepping outside one's comfort zone to try something new. Although courage has been praised throughout history, it turns out we know remarkably little about the psychology of this important virtue. My research examines courage as a multi-faceted construct, and I am currently working on developing and testing a model of courageous action. In other words, in a given situation, what will help someone behave more courageously? What factors determine (after the fact) if we label an action as courageous? These questions have application in a variety of applied settings including schools, the work place, therapy and coaching settings, and society at large. Cindy Pury

    Occupational Health Psychology

    My research addresses three aspects of occupational health psychology: (1) economic stress; (2) organizational climate; and (3) issues faced by workers in high risk occupations. My economic stress research studies how issues such as workers’ worries about money, debt, and/or losing their job influence their health as well as their resulting attitudes and behaviors at work.  My research on organizational climate examines workers’ perceptions of the extent to which their organizations prioritize their safety, health, and well-being as well as the implications of those perceptions for their workplace experiences. My research on high risk occupations investigates personal (e.g., personality, death anxiety, demographic differences) and situational (leadership, social support, shift work, etc.) influences on workers’ occupational health in higher risk occupational contexts such as military personnel, retail workers and health care professionals (e.g., nurses, physicians). Robert Sinclair

  • Exercise in the Workplace

    Movement While Working

    Modern society often creates a dichotomy for exercise and working. With the exception of professional athletes, usually one does not think of movement or exercise while working. My research project is trying to change that. We are using FitDesks (stationary desks with a desk top) on campus and in K-12 schools to encourage students to be active but at a low level (i.e., no sweating allowed) while studying. We are also placing the FitDesks in work settings to encourage employees to be active while working. We use a wide range of measures to investigate how movement while working affects cognitive performance, attention, motivation, engagement, stress levels, emotional stability, health and well-being. As applied-oriented researchers, our overall purpose is to change educational and work settings to improve performance, health and well-being in students and workers. June J. Pilcher

Institute For Engaged Aging

The Institute for Engaged Aging aims to discover, develop and disseminate best practices for engaged aging through research, education and community outreach. Institute initiatives will enable older adults to be engaged in family and community living regardless of their social, economic, or health status. Faculty Associates represent all colleges at Clemson University and also external agencies such as hospitals and rehabilitation centers. Research, educational programs and community outreach generated through the Institute are critical to meet the needs of a diverse older adult population in the state and region as it experiences rapid growth due to the aging of indigenous citizens and the in-migration of retirees. Between 2000 and 2010, the elderly population increased by 30.2% in South Carolina, outpacing elderly population growth in the nation (10.7%) and the South (19.7%). Census estimates predict that the number of adults 65 and older is expected to double to almost 20 percent of the U.S. population by 2030 and, in South Carolina, the percentage will be even greater at 22 percent — which reflects its leading rate of growth of those over 65.

Visit the Institute

Clemson University Institute for Engaged Aging

Additional Research from the Clemson University Department of Psychology

Additional Psychology Research

  • Accuracy and Assessment

    Peer Review and Scholarship

    The journal articles you read to learn about the latest scholarship in any area have one thing in common: each one has been through the peer review process. A scholar writes about a new finding and sends it to a journal editor, who sends it to experts in the field for review. How accurate is this process, and how can it be improved? We are looking for these answers by studying the peer review process across disciplines. Cindy Pury

  • Clinical Psychology

    Stigma of Psychological Problems

    We are all aware of the stigma associated with admitting a psychological problem and seeking treatment for that problem. Our research team examines the consequences of stigma for reactions to stressors and treatment seeking. This researches examines the predictors and consequences of stigma among college student and employee samples. Thomas W. Britt

    The Positive Psychology of Courage

    Courage is needed in many difficult situations, including saving others in physical peril, standing up for what is right and stepping outside one's comfort zone to try something new. Although courage has been praised throughout history, it turns out we know remarkably little about the psychology of this important virtue. My research examines courage as a multi-faceted construct, and I am currently working on developing and testing a model of courageous action. In other words, in a given situation, what will help someone behave more courageously? What factors determine (after the fact) if we label an action as courageous? These questions have application in a variety of applied settings, including schools, the work place, therapy and coaching settings, and society at large. Cindy Pury

    Study of Health Aging & Applied Research Programs (SHAARP)

    The SHAARP Lab examines methods to maintain older adults' independence and mobility. We focus primarily on cognitive and functional abilities that may be modifiable through targeted interventions. We are currently examining mobile cognitive and everyday functioning assessments as well as the impact of various cognitive intervention programs on cognitive, physical, and health outcomes in older adults. We are particularly interested in the real-world implications of our findings. We are seeking graduate and undergraduate research assistants! Please see www.SHAARP.org for more information. Lesley Ross

  • Cross-Cultural Psychology

    Interpersonal conflict

    What would you if someone insulted you in front of your friends? How would you feel? How would you respond? This research examines the way cultural background, values, and goals influence people’s perception of and responses to interpersonal conflict. It focuses on the role of situational factors in dealing with conflict (e.g., type of conflict and power differences between the actors) as well as on the effectiveness of different types of apologies across cultures and individuals. Ceren Gunsoy

    Social media behavior

    The way people present themselves on social media depends on their self-view, cultural values, and motivations. For example, people’s motivation and strategies to self-enhance and to be unique vary across cultures, so does their willingness to present a positive and unique image of themselves on social media. This research examines what kind of information people from different cultural backgrounds post on social networking sites (e.g., Facebook) and whether there are cultural differences in people’s motivation to use these channels. Ceren Gunsoy

    Person perception

    How does our cultural background influence the way we perceive others and explain the reasons behind their behaviors? It has been shown that people from individualistic (e.g., the US, Canada, Australia, Western Europe) and collectivistic societies (e.g., Latin American, East Asian, Middle Eastern societies) have differences in their self-construal and thinking style. Moreover, there is cultural diversity within these societies based on characteristics such as ethnicity, race, religion, gender, or social class. This research focuses on spontaneous trait, goal, and situation inferences people make when encountering others’ behaviors and how these inferences vary based on culture, self-construal, and holistic vs. analytic thinking style.   Ceren Gunsoy

  • Psychology of Religion and Spirituality

    It can be argued that a common denominator for many religious traditions is the cultivation of a mystical experience through which one attains union with the One. Broadly speaking, I study profound experiences and positive psychological outcomes influenced by strong belief systems and values. In particular, I take an indigenous psychological approach, studying Buddhists and Daoists in Asian cultures, Muslims in Middle East, and Christians in Europe and the US. My interest is also growing into environmental psychology, on topics of sacred space and psychological impact of built environment. Job Chen

  • Social Psychology

    Determinants and Consequences of Self-Engagement

    What determines whether individuals become personally engaged in activities such as work, voting and relationships? Our program of research examines the predictors and consequences of engagement in different areas. We have published articles addressing engagement at work, among soldiers in military operations and in voting and academic tests. Thomas W. Britt

    Psychological Stamina

    Although research has been devoted to understanding the construct of physical stamina, virtually no work has been conducted on psychological stamina, which we define as the ability to perform mental, emotional, and social tasks over time without experiencing a drop in performance. We have developed a measure of different forms of psychological stamina and are examining the ability of this scale to predict performance over time. Thomas W. Britt

    Cyber Bullying

    Whereas the traditional bully was most frequently encountered at school during school hours, a new bully is now on the scene. This bully is often anonymous and can bully his or her victim 24/7. Cyber bullying, also known as electronic bullying or online social cruelty, refers to bullying that occurs through electronic means, such as email, chat rooms, instant messages, web pages, and text messages sent to cell phones. As one victim of cyber bullying phrased it, the inability to escape cyber bullying without completely disconnecting from social communications means that one is forever tethered to one’s tormenter. Our research on cyber bullying examines the frequency with which it occurs, who is involved as victims and/or perpetrators and its consequences. Robin M. Kowalski

    Complaining

    Everyone complains, although clearly some people complain more than others. Even though complaining has negative connotations associated with it, there must be some benefit to complaining or people would not do it so often. Very little research within psychology has examined complaining. Thus, our research focuses on why people complain, the intrapersonal and interpersonal consequences of complaining, and who is most likely to complain. Robin M. Kowalski

  • Teaching of Psychology

    Motivation and Assessment

    One portion of my research effort is focused on how to better motivate students to learn. This involves encouraging active involvement from the student in the learning process through group work, creative projects, reflection papers and other teaching paradigms. The goal of this research is to investigate teaching strategies that can increase retention and learning in students. June J. Pilcher

Clemson Driving Simulator

Clemson University Psychology Research Drive SimulatorThe Department of Psychology has a new, state-of-the-art 3-DOF motion base Realtime Technologies Inc. RDS-1000 driving simulator for the psychology for studies of driver capability, driver distraction, dynamic decision-making, use of advanced vehicle technologies, trust in automation, automation failures, and behavioral adaptations brought on by the ever-increasing incorporation of automation into the driving task. This simulator uses a high-fidelity, high-resolution visual system (3 visual channels providing a 210-degree field of view side and rear-view mirrors that are in-set images in the forward displays, see this link from RTI for more details).

This simulator runs on RTI’s SimCreator Core Software that is bundled with Altia Design, which allows for easy creation and integration of user interface components for virtual dashes or secondary tasks that fully integrate with the simulation data. Simulator scenarios can be developed using SimCreator DX, which includes two complete environments (Generic World and Linear Land) and allows for tile-based creation of novel driving environments. Libraries of pre-defined maneuvers include ambient traffic, ambient pedestrians with programmable crossing behavior, controllable traffic lights, bicycle and motorcycle behaviors, construction zones, cut ins, drunk driving behaviors, school bus behavior, emergency vehicle behavior, and assorted road obstructions among other features, and novel maneuvers can be programmed as well using location based or time-based triggers. To seamlessly study the use of advanced vehicle technologies, the simulator is paired with the SimDriver automated driving system (SAE level 3-5) as well as the SimADAS suite of advanced driver assistance systems (SAE 1-2). This facility is one of the top driving simulation facilities in the Southeastern United States. Driving scenarios are programmable to allow study of night driving, fog, and unsafe traffic conditions during multi-tasking, and under conditions of fatigue and stress. The new simulator is in the process of being purchased now and will be in place in 2021. It will be paired with a head-mounted Pupil Core open-source eye tracking platform to study drivers’ visual behaviors.

This simulator is being used to conduct basic and applied research in driving. It is used to investigate all three major aspects of human behavior in driving:

  • perception (the input stage; this is primarily visual perception - approximately 90% of of the information that drivers use during the driving task is visual)
  • cognitive processing (the processing stage; this is primarily attentional demands, situation awareness, etc.; this includes issues such as attentional demands of cell phone use, conversations, and other distractors, how drivers develop and maintain awareness of other vehicles’ locations and movement, and also issues of special populations such as the elderly); a major portion of our research will also look at issues with aging drivers
  • judgment and decision making (the output stage; the how and why of judgments and behaviors during driving, including cognitive illusions that lead to poor driving decision).

If you have any questions about our driving simulator, please contact Dr. Dustin Souders.

Department of Psychology
Department of Psychology | 418 Brackett Hall