When the traffic light is red you are aware that a car might comes rushing in. So you are extra careful and always check the street before you actual cross the street. But one the other hand if you have green light and think you are good to go, it seems to be very likely that you just walk over the street without even taking a glance. There is still the danger of a car/cyclist, however, that may run a red light. Not looking could thus seriously be harmful.

So to put it in a more general context. Does expecting to be in a safe situation elicit or allow unsafe behavior?


closed as unclear what you're asking by Chuck Sherrington, Krysta, Seanny123, Artem Kaznatcheev Nov 25 '14 at 4:22

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  • $\begingroup$ Personally I do not feel this is on topic here, as this question pertains to the environment, and not to cognition. $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Nov 5 '14 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ the evolution of threat assessment and its affects on neurology deserves an answer give me a moment $\endgroup$ – user6939 Nov 6 '14 at 1:00
  • $\begingroup$ @StevenJeuris Although I'm not sure it's a great question, I think it's still on topic because it's about how the relation between environment and awareness. $\endgroup$ – Seanny123 Nov 16 '14 at 19:43
  • $\begingroup$ @user3461075 if you could change your title and narrow down your question (are you looking for a name or references about this topic in a certain situation) it would really help $\endgroup$ – Seanny123 Nov 16 '14 at 19:44
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    $\begingroup$ I believe this question definitely fit as a CogSci question. The situation described contains expectations/predictions and decision making at a higher, systemic, level. Within Human Factors/human error, this question is incredibly relevant. $\endgroup$ – Robin Kramer Jun 25 '16 at 18:52

The psychology of the Jay walker or those who violate small laws (virtually unimportant to society expect when assigning blame and compensation for damages) is indeed a tricky thing. The motivational force behind the jay walking and the present awareness of the dangers of the situation often prove key to determining if the person will experience hardship as a result of their choices. That is to say the drunk or otherwise impaired will be at a higher risk of improperly crossing the street and being harmed. Then those experiencing emotional extremes are thus also likely to be biased to ignore danger. Likewise those who are otherwise sick or mentally afflicted. However the level headed person who is fully aware of the situation would have an increased probability of assuming his action is dangerous and may take more precautions. Those who fail to understand the danger of the situation though fully aware may not be as vigilant and may experience additional harm. Likewise also some drunks drive excessively slow knowing that what they are doing is wrong and dangerous but because of their impairment the amount of damage they do can still be catastrophic.

  • $\begingroup$ I share your ideas about those 'vulnerable' people. Thats why a external regulation for crossing the street is essential. (you mentioned drunk people but children seems to be more obvios). But still I was hoping to get more information about how often the green light really causes the accident. (without considering drunkheads and children ) $\endgroup$ – user3461075 Nov 13 '14 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ This all sounds more like social philosophy than cognitive science. $\endgroup$ – Tomáš Zato Nov 24 '14 at 22:20

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