sbenjamin | Natural Hazards Research Australia

Shauntelle Benjamin

Scholarship student
The University of New England


Shauntelle Benjamin’s PhD is using the University of New England’s state of the art virtual reality and eye-tracking laboratories to experimentally test the psychological factors that might influence the decision to drive into floodwater. Shauntelle is also examining the protective effects of risk treatments such as warning signs, penalties and safety education, and will look at key questions such as what are the motivations (i.e. variables that affect behaviour) for decisions to drive into floodwater, what protective factors are associated with decisions not to drive into floodwater, does a driver’s perception of risk influence decisions to drive into floodwater, and can interventions be tailored to different motivations, protective factors and risk perceptions?

Findings so far show that personality factors can influence who drives into floodwater. Agreeableness, extraversion and neuroticism, as well as cultural views, can predict whether an individual will drive into floodwater. The perception of peer pressure is another powerful factor.