The Research Report requires students to write a psychology report based on data that they have been involved in collecting. Writing empirical papers is one way that psychologists disseminate research findings.
Question for the report is:
Research question: In the context of safety messages about using a mobile phone while driving, does whether the message is framed in terms of a loss or a gain impact the ability of the message to change drivers intentions? Can we increase the effectiveness of such messages by inducing high issue involvement in individuals?
Our safety is of great importance and needs to be maintained at all times (Geller, 2016). We have some critical conditions where our safety is normally at great risk and in such conditions, all the necessary measures should be put in place to make sure our safety is guaranteed as much as possible. One of such critical conditions which tend to risk our safety greatly is when driving. While driving, our safety is normally at great risk since a slight mess on the driver’s side can lead to some fatal consequences (Kalra and Paddock, 2016, pp.182-193). The behavior of the drivers using their mobile phones when driving has been found to be one of the major behaviors which highly compromise their safety and the safety of the passengers in their vehicles. This behavior is a great problem in our lives as some of the drivers who use their phones when driving lose concentration and may end up over-speeding their vehicles or engage in other risky behaviors which can cause serious accidents (Hoekstra and Wegman, 2011, pp.80-86). Therefore, this problem needs to be addressed comprehensively to address the many problems which result from the behavior of using mobile phones when driving. Much research has been done to see how this behavior of using mobile phones when driving can be eliminated but the research has not been very successful (Cazzulino, Burke, Muller, Arbogast, and Upperman, 2014, pp.234-242). More research continues to be done to help in eliminating this behavior, and perhaps one day in the future, the behavior will be eliminated completely where we’ll have no driver using his/her mobile phone when driving (Zhou and Curry, 2015). This paper will analyze the behavior of using mobile phones when driving which will help us to know how this behavior can be addressed, and this is very important as it will help to enhance our safety.
The behavior of using mobile phones when driving forms the basis of our main research questions which can be stated as:
- Are the available safety messages about using mobile phones when driving effective, and do they change the drivers’ intentions about this behavior?
- Can the effectiveness of these safety messages be improved by inducing high issue involvement in individuals?
From the research questions stated above, we can form the following hypotheses:
The gain-framed safety messages are more effective than the loss-framed safety messages about using mobile phones when driving and work better in changing the drivers’ intentions towards this behavior.
High issue involvement inducing is more effective than low issue involvement inducing, and helps to improve the effectiveness of these safety messages in changing the drivers’ intentions towards this behavior than low issue involvement inducing.
Gain-framed safety messages about this behavior of using mobile phones when driving will be more effective when combined with high issue involvement inducing message.
A total of 892 participants participated in the survey conducted during the research, but not all of them were serious in the survey as some did not provide all the required information. All the incomplete data which was provided by some participants and the data given by participants above 26 years old was removed since it was not necessary for the research. The remaining data was from 343 participants, and this data was adequate for our research.
The main measure which was used in this research was the intention measure. The intention measure was applied in the research to help in measuring the drivers’ intentions about the use of mobile phones when tired, and this intention measure helped to achieve the desired results. This intention measure is a modified version of the intention measure which was used by Hatfield, Murphy, Kasparian, and Job (2005) to measure the young drivers’ intentions about driving when they are tired.
The participants of the research (drivers) were informed about the study and its intentions orally, and those willing to participate went ahead to provide the required information. ‘Driving while using a mobile phone’ was taken as the intention variable of the research. To analyze the collected data, the scores from different questions were averaged to obtain the intention score. The texting and talking intention scores were calculated using the questions about the participants’ behaviors. The mobile phone use intention difference score was calculated by subtracting the second mobile phone (text/talk) use intention score from the first mobile phone (text/call) use intention score or simply subtracting the post-intention score from the pre-intention score. The higher the difference score (positive), the lower is the likelihood of doing the behavior of texting or talking when driving.
The first set of the results which shows the demographic information of the participants is shown in the tables below:
From the tables, we can see that the data of 343 participants were analyzed. Of the 343 participants, 86 were male, 255 were female, and 2 refused to disclose their gender. The ages of the participants ranged between 17 years (minimum) to 26 years (maximum). The average age of the participants was 19.207 years, and the standard deviation was 1.682646.
The second set of results which shows the driving experience of the participants and their behaviors when driving is shown in the tables below:
Demographic Information of Participants
From the tables above, we can see that 342 participants disclosed information about their licensing where the participants who had been licensed for the longest period had been licensed for 10 years and we had some who had not been licensed. The results also revealed that 6 drivers were not licensed, 74 had learners type of licenses, 213 had Ps (public service) type of licenses, 43 had full/heavy vehicle type of licenses, and 7 had motorcycle licenses.
The first table above which shows the drivers’ behaviors of using their mobile phones when driving show that 47 drivers use their mobile phones three times or more on weekly basis when driving, 93 drivers use their mobile phones once or twice in a week when driving, 61 drivers use their phones ones in a month when driving, and 107 drivers don’t use their phones when driving. The other table which was based on the views of these drivers about the behavior of using mobile phones when driving of the other drivers shows that these drivers thought that 194 other drivers use their mobile phones when driving three or more times in a week, 118 other drivers use their phones when driving once or twice in a week, 21 other drivers use their mobile phones when driving once or twice a month, 6 other drivers use their mobile phones when driving less than once in a month, and 4 other drivers never use their mobile phones when driving.
In testing the hypotheses using the measures of the drivers’ intentions to make/take phone calls (talk) when driving, the following results were obtained:
The difference score is a bit high (positive) which means the chance of the drivers to talk when driving is very low.
The difference score is negative which means the chance of the drivers to talk when driving is very high.
The difference score is positive but very low which means the chance of the driver talking when driving is slightly high.
The information conveyed by the results of the test hypotheses above can be graphically represented by the graphs below:
In testing the hypotheses using the measures of the drivers’ intentions to text when driving, the following results were obtained:
The difference score is positive and slightly high which means the chance of the driver texting when driving is slightly low.
The difference score is negative which means the chance of the driver texting when driving is slightly high.
Driving Experience of Participants and Their Behaviors when Driving
The difference score is negative which means the chance of the driver texting when driving is high.
The information conveyed by the hypotheses results above can be graphically represented by the graphs below:
From our research, we’ve found that texting and calling when driving is a common behavior with many drivers. Testing the hypotheses also proved all our hypotheses right. Therefore, all our three hypotheses have been proved to be facts. The research also helped to answer our research questions where we have learned that the available safety messages about using mobile phones when driving are effective, and do change the drivers’ intentions about the behaviors of using their mobile phones when driving. The research has also revealed that the effectiveness of the safety messages can be greatly improved by inducing high issue involvement messages in individuals (Millar and Murray, 2000, pp.853-866).
The major strength of the study is that it has helped us to understand the gain-framed safety messages and the low-framed safety messages and how these messages affect the behaviors of the drivers when driving (Chaurand, Bossart, and Delhomme, 2015, pp.37-44). This knowledge can be applied to come up with some good measures which can help to address this major challenge of drivers talking or texting when driving which pauses a serious threat to our safety. The major limitation of the study was on the complexity of the collected data which made the analysis of the data quite challenging. There remains much to be researched on the behaviors of the drivers when driving and doing detailed research on this to improve the behaviors of drivers when driving will help to minimize many accidents which are associated with many deaths (Carter, Bingham, Zakrajsek, Shope, and Sayer, 2014, pp.S32-S41). The use of mobile phones by drivers when driving is not the only risky behavior portrayed by drivers, but there are many other behaviors which need more research to be addressed and solved to improve our safety.
Carter, P. M., Bingham, C. R., Zakrajsek, J. S., Shope, J. T., & Sayer, T. B. (2014). Social norms and risk perception: Predictors of distracted driving behavior among novice adolescent drivers. Journal of Adolescent Health, 54(5), S32-S41.
Chaurand, N., Bossart, F., and Delhomme, P. (2015). A naturalistic study of the impact of message framing on highway speeding. Transportation Research Part F, 35, 37-44.
Francesca Cazzulino , Rita V. Burke , Valerie Muller , Helen Arbogast & Jeffrey S. Upperman (2014) Cell Phones and Young Drivers: A Systematic Review Regarding the Association Between Psychological Factors and Prevention, Traffic Injury Prevention, 15:3, 234-242, DOI: 10.1080/15389588.2013.822075
Geller, E. S. (2016). The psychology of safety handbook. Florida: CRC Press.
Hatfield, J., Murphy, S., Kasparian, N., & Job, R. (2005). Risk perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors regarding driver fatigue in NSW youth: The Development of an Evidence-Based Driver Fatigue Educational Intervention Strategy. Report to the Motor Accidents Authority of NSW.
Kalra, N., & Paddock, S. M. (2016). Driving to safety: How many miles of driving would it take to demonstrate autonomous vehicle reliability? Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 94, 182-193.
Millar, U.K., and Murray. G.M. (2000). Promoting Safe Driving Behaviors: The Influence of Message Framing and Issue Involvement. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 30(4), 853-866.
Wegman, F. and Hoekstra, T. (2011). Improving the effectiveness of road safety campaigns: Current and new practices. IATSS Research, 34, 80-86.
Zhou, X., & Curry, W. (2015). U.S. Patent No. 8,971,927. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
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