Shauntelle Benjamin

PhD student
Shauntelle Benjamin

Shauntelle Benjamin’s PhD is using the University of New England’s state of the art virtual reality and eye-tracking laboratories to experimentally test the psychological factors that might influence the decision to drive into floodwater. Shauntelle is also examining the protective effects of risk treatments such as warning signs, penalties and safety education, and will look at key questions such as what are the motivations (i.e. variables that affect behaviour) for decisions to drive into floodwater, what protective factors are associated with decisions not to drive into floodwater, does a driver’s perception of risk influence decisions to drive into floodwater, and can interventions be tailored to different motivations, protective factors and risk perceptions?

Findings so far show that personality factors can influence who drives into floodwater. Agreeableness, extraversion and neuroticism, as well as cultural views, can predict whether an individual will drive into floodwater. The perception of peer pressure is another powerful factor.

Student project

Drivers continue to enter flooded road crossings in Australia, often with tragic outcomes.  Given the expected increase in flooding predicted with climate change, designing better risk mitigation and community safety strategies requires understanding of the psychology behind a drivers’ decision to enter floodwater.

Supervisory panel:
31 Aug 2020
Key findings: Personality traits and sociocultural environment predict floodwater driving
Virtually Resolute: Influencing Decision-Making to Promote Mental Health and Reduce Flood Driving
18 Sep 2018
Flood driving fatalities are on the rise despite appeals to the general public. While much is known...
Virtually resolute: influencing decision-making to promote mental health and reduce flood driving
30 Jun 2017
Flood fatalities are on the rise despite appeals to the general public for behavioural change....

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