Dr. Jay Todd’s Ph.D. research investigated the relationship of memory, attention, and awareness when performing a goal-directed task, and the neural correlates of those mental processes in humans. This included investigating how being startled can impair our awareness of and response to expected events, and how the difficulty of a task can influence our ability to perceive unexpected events. As a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Chicago, Dr. Todd investigated how stress and anxiety can adversely affect how we attempt to solve problems and can lead to otherwise easily avoidable mistakes.
Dr. Todd investigates the effects of limitations in task performance and perception on our awareness and experience of events in our environment. Dr. Todd applies his knowledge and expertise to investigate a variety of incidents involving pedestrians, vehicle operators, and product users. Vehicle incidents include passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, bicycles, motorcycles, etc. He investigates misstep/trip-and-falls, retail accidents, diving accidents, perception and response behavior of pedestrians and drivers, issues of lighting and visibility, and use of consumer and industrial products. The scope of these investigations includes analyses of visual and auditory perception, decision-making processes and biases, attention and eye gaze behavior, the influence of experience and expectancy on awareness and task performance, eye-witness memory, instructions and safety information, and warning application and compliance. He also addresses the conditions under which performance is influenced by age, fatigue, alcohol and drugs, and psychological factors such as emotional stress. He also investigates the development and speed at which we become aware of events, e.g., an imminent vehicle collision and awareness of pain and suffering.
More recently, Dr. Todd has investigated and published research related to driver and pedestrian visibility and performance. This includes a scientifically-based methodology to present the jury with a photograph that accurately portrays the lighting conditions at an accident scene. He has published research on the contribution of different sources of nighttime ambient illumination, which is used to identify the amount of lighting that an individual may use to perceive hazards and other objects in dark environments. He has developed a mathematical model that can be used to accurately and efficiently predict a driver’s available sightline. Collectively, these techniques can help present to the jury a more robust view of the capabilities and opportunities afforded to drivers and pedestrians in a traffic accident.
EDUCATION & CERTIFICATIONS:
• Psychology, Ph.D.: Vanderbilt University (2008)
• Psychology, B.S.: Vanderbilt University (2001)