Term Paper: Attention Concentration

Pages: 29 (7490 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Transportation  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … Preliminary Study of Police Motorbike Riders Concentration Levels, Pre and Post of the Police Three-Week Intensive Rider Training Program

Motor safety is an essential component in securing transportation systems in countries throughout the world. Over the past 40 years, motor safety has become a chief concern for transportation departments around the globe. These transportation departments have instituted regulations that place safety at the forefront. These regulations include the installation of and mandatory wearing of seatbelts and certain restrictions on gas emissions. In recent years, transportation departments have began to focus on distractions that may hinder driver concentration. Such distractions such as Cell Phone Usage while driving a motor vehicle have been banned in some areas. For the purposes of this discussion, the researcher will focus on Motorbike Riders Concentration Levels. A review of the literature will focus on the increases in Motorcyclists in the United Kingdom, fatalities that occur with motorbike riders, government interventions and a description of the three-week Police training program. The actual study will examine the impact of the Police Three-Week Intensive Rider Training Program on concentration levels.

Background information comprehensive study of road safety by the Department for Transport, DfT (2004) has outlined alarming statistics, that although road traffic accidents for car drivers, cyclists, children, and pedestrians are falling; accidents involving motorbikes have increased. Previous research by Clarke et al. (2003) has indicated that one of the main causes of motorbike rider fatalities is losing control on a left hand bend and sliding into oncoming traffic. The report by the DfT (2004) concludes that although excessive speed is a factor in 20.5% of road traffic accidents, 40.2% occurred "when the motorbike riders either lost control or ran wide into bends, speed and power were not contributory factors. The accident was simply caused by human error. These statistics are mirrored by the previous study of Treat et al. (1977) who found that human error was the sole cause in 57% of all road traffic accidents and was a contributing factor in over 90%.

Spurned by the latest statistics of road traffic accidents involving motorbikes, the DfT has asked parties within the Motorcycle Industry Association, such as the media, manufactures, and training organisations, to assist in reducing the fatality rate of motorcyclists. They suggested that the media should stop glamorising excess speed and dangerous antics in their publications; the manufacturers should try and kerb the power output of the bikes they design and build; and training agencies should attempt to improve the rider training that they provide. These government suggestions indicate that a problem does exist.

Although the research by Treat et al. (1977) and DfT (2004) accentuated that human error, was the significant determinant of road traffic accidents, neither research proposed a hypothesis of an actual cause of this human error? However, could the significant determinant be a lapse or loss in a rider's concentration level?

Easterbrook (1959) highlighted that emotions can affect an individual's concentration level. One of the recommendations of the DfT (2004) report was to improve rider training, but no specific action was recommended. Research by Sudlow (2003) suggests that the current motorbike rider training focuses solely on the development of machine control, and ignores the concepts of cognitive value.

Police motorbike rider training is regarded as the gold star in road craft, and the ultimate bench mark for others to emulate. Unlike the civilian motorbike training agencies, the Police place special importance on the cognitive values of their riders; proportionally, cognitive matters vastly outnumber machine control. This helps to avert and curtail the amount of road traffic accidents that involve Police motorbike riders by providing a greater degree of the awareness of potential road accidents; pre-empting rather than acting after the fact.

Hypothetically speaking if the Police motorbike rider training could be improved in some way, it would bring fringe benefits to the Police. In addition, this improved training could filter down to the training agencies, and thus to the man in the street, and therefore help to reduce the amount of motorbike rider fatalities and accidents. So how can we improve the Police motorbike rider training?

In motorbike, racing one hundredth of a second can denote the difference between wining and loosing. Over the years, the factory racing teams have spent millions of pounds in the engineering and development field in the quest to produce a faster superior handling motorbike, whereas the performance of the rider has mainly been overlooked. More recently, the importance and success of Sport Science in optimal sporting performances has been adopted by the racing teams in their never-ending quest of shaving the seconds. Sport Science has helped to gain this minute timed advantage, by using procedures of cognitive training techniques, such as maintaining focus, concentration improvement techniques, and searching for relative cues to name a few. "Bike, Mind, and Body are all part of the same system" Scott (2004), (See Appendix1). These cognitive training techniques used in motorbike racing can be adopted for road use, changing the emphasis from speed to road safety.

Concentration, focus, identifying relative cues, and alertness are key mental aspects of motorbike riding, and an integral part of safe motorbike riding. An improvement in these cognitive qualities will be beneficial to any motorbike rider, more so the Police motorbike rider who is operating above the norm, i.e. constantly concentrating, focusing, and scanning the environment for relative cues in conjunction with the internal and external distractions that they have to deal with. Our ability to handle information about the environment is limited; therefore, we cope with this by giving more attention to some parts of the environment than others and concentrating on them. "We all concentrate 100% of the time; we just don't necessarily on what is relevant" Scott (2004). The former 2000 and 2002 World Super bike champion Colin Edwards quoted that "Motocross is 50% mental and 50% physical: Road racing is 95% mental and 5% physical." Scott (2004).

Currently, although the Police recognise the importance of cognitive matters in their motorbike rider training programs, they do not have structured programs of cognitive improvement techniques in place. Before "signing up" to a comprehensive program of cognitive training techniques, we should measure what the Police already have in place that being the three-week intensive motorbike rider training program. This will provide a measurable benchmark, providing weight credence, and direction to future studies in this field.

Nideffer (1976a) devised the Test of Attentional and Interpersonal Style (TAIS). This inventory is a valid and reliable tool that measures basic concentration skills. The median two-week test-retest coefficient is.82, and the median one year coefficient is.72. These concentration skills and interpersonal characteristics are important contributors to performance in almost any situation. These characteristics have been described as the "building blocks of performance," Nideffer (2001). The TAIS measures these building blocks of performance. Although there is no perfect or ideal pattern of scores on the TAIS, ideally motorbike riders need to be effective attenders. Effective attenders possess high scores on broad internal and external focus, and switch from broad to narrow and vice versa narrow to broad focus when required. They are also low on the three measures of ineffective attention, and do not become overloaded with information, therefore leaving vital amplitude for other important attentional duties such as identifying and omitting relative cues.

More recently, psychologists have devised a computerised screening battery, the computerised neurocognitive testing of vital signs CNSVS (2004). It is comprised of seven familiar tests, four of which are associated with concentration, Symbol digit coding test, the Stroop test, Shifting attention, and the Continuous performance test. These four tests generate domain scores in three areas: reaction time, attention, and cognitive flexibility. This measuring tool is the latest tool available to the science of concentration and as of yet no recorded research has been released to its affect.

Currently the Police do not measure the cognitive aspects of their motorbike rider training, such as concentration. Therefore there is no scientific way of knowing whether an improvement, or not exists in a riders concentration levels post the three-week intensive Police motorbike rider training program. Despite the need to understand the cognitive prerequisites of such hazardous tasks within motorcycling riding, very little if any empirical research has been conducted on the nature of either attention or concentration concerning Police motorbike riders. With a huge gap in literature, this can only encourage future studies.

Purpose Statement

The aims of this empirical quantitative study were twofold in nature. Firstly, to measure and explore for significant differences in Police motorbike riders concentration/attention, pre and post of the three-week intensive Police motorbike rider training program, thus to providing a measurable benchmark for future studies. Secondly, to investigate if a correlation exists between the computerised neurocognitive testing of vital signs (CNSVS), and the Police motorbike riders' concentration questionnaire (PMRC-Q).

Finally, this study examined the research hypotheses that: Firstly the intervention program, being the Police three-week intensive motorbike rider training program produces a significant difference in the concentration levels of Police motorbike… [END OF PREVIEW]

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