Effects of taboo-related distraction

Driver distraction is an important risk factor in motor vehicle crashes. Roadside billboards containing negative and positive emotional content have been shown to have differential effects on driving, however, little is known about the impact of taboo information. Taboo information more reliably evokes emotional arousal than other emotional information and can lead to greater attentional capture due to its inherent ‘shock value.’ Taboo words captured the most attention, but also led to a more careful driving style. One possible explanation is that drivers may be narrowing their attention to the driving task when highly aroused.

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