Professor John Wann

Research interests

My research addresses the issue of how humans cope with complex moving environments and exercise highly skilled actions.  Examples are skilled interception, or avoidance, of moving objects such as catching a cricket ball or ducking before it hits you.  But in recent work we have extending this to consider the problem of judging collisions at the roadside either as a pedestrian or car driver.  Recent projects funded by the ESRC and our "Live Science" project in the London Science Museum have highlighted that the perceptual aspects of judging vehicle speed for road crossing may be particularly problematic for younger children and also may become a problem for the 70+ older road user group. 

We also work on the control of steering. In the latter case we now routinely travel at 5 times the speed that we would have encountered as an evolving animal (e.g. 50mph vs a fast run of 10mph) and errors in our steering judgments could be critical. Understanding the information that humans use and how they can “read a bend” is a current theme

We also have a history of research into why some children fail to develop the close linkage of perception to action that most of us rely upon. These children currently fall within a diagnosis of Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD). We have ongoing projects aimed at trying to understand what the underlying problems are in DCD. These investigations are also linked to the road crossing projects above. In addition we are looking at young adults with DCD tackling the task of learning to drive. Further information on my group's research can be found on our group webpages: 
http://www.pc.rhul.ac.uk/sites/ARL/

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