Media Advisory: Expert on vision and attention in transportation available to speak about Metro-North derailment

Wed, 12/04/2013

Contact

Brendan M. Lynch
KU News Service
785-864-8855

LAWRENCE — Paul Atchley, professor of psychology at University of Kansas, is available to speak with reporters about the recent, fatal Metro-North derailment in New York City. Atchley is a world-renowned expert on issues of vision and attention related to transportation. He currently leads a multidisciplinary research team dealing with issues of driver distraction and vehicle design.

Regarding the Metro-North incident, Atchley said, “Essentially, this is what we call ‘mind wandering’ — that’s the scientific term for spacing out. The operator was more than likely just inattentive. He probably was well-rested and capable of operating the train just fine. But he was engaged in routine behavior, the same thing over and over again. We all space out once in a while. He just did it at a very bad moment in time.”

Regarding the Metro-North incident, Atchley said, “Essentially, this is what we call ‘mind wandering’ — that’s the scientific term for spacing out. The operator was more than likely just inattentive. He probably was well-rested and capable of operating the train just fine. But he was engaged in routine behavior, the same thing over and over again. We all space out once in a while. He just did it at a very bad moment in time.”

Atchley can be reached by phone at 785-843-1189 or at patchley@ku.edu.



Don't spend half the day using 0% of your brain. Escape the office with an #EducationVacation. http://bit.ly/KUsummer

KU-Van Go partnership supports young people in need Van Go, a Lawrence social service agency, and student interns from the University of Kansas use art to teach job and life skills to high-needs youth. Since the program was established in 1997, hundreds of teens in crisis have found success as they create art for the community. In 2013, Van Go and KU received the inaugural Outstanding Community & Campus Collaboration Award at the Campus Compact Heartland Conference on Civic Engagement. The award recognizes an outstanding, involved, and sustained campus--community partnership.


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
1 of 9 public universities with outstanding study abroad programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
$275 million in externally funded research expenditures
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times