Applying traffic psychology in low and middle income countries: A critique

King, Mark J. (2016) Applying traffic psychology in low and middle income countries: A critique. In Sixth International Conference on Traffic and Transport Psychology (ICTTP2016), 2-5 August 2016, Brisbane, Qld. (Unpublished)


The importance of Traffic Psychology has been growing, and there has been an increase in its application in low and middle income countries. Given the common observation of widespread unsafe and unlawful behaviour in many low and middle income countries, there is much potential value in understanding and addressing their road user behaviour. As a consequence, methods and tools used in Traffic Psychology in high income countries are being applied in low and middle income countries that are different in many ways, including their social structure and cultural roots. While Psychology as a field sees itself as addressing psychological processes that are common across all human beings, there are several points on which this presumption can be questioned. Some of these points are philosophical in nature, and relate to the development of psychology from Western philosophy, and therefore from Western modes of thought. Some are methodological in nature, and concern both deep issues of language when using standard tools such as scales, and social structures and behaviours when using typical data collection methods such as focus groups and face-to-face interviews. There are also sociological and historical issues that set the context for behaviour, where the context of public behaviour and governance taken for granted in Western countries has evolved over several centuries. Some of these points of concern can be addressed by articulating a more sophisticated methodological approach to existing research methods, however this is unlikely to be successful without a good knowledge of a society’s cultural and social patterns, which necessitates the use of anthropological and (to a lesser extent) sociological research. There is also a need for psychologists from low and middle income countries to develop informed psychological insights into their own cultures and societies, bearing in mind that in many cases they will have a social, educational and (to some extent) cultural background which is different to that of the majority of their countrymen. The most important step is for the issues to be acknowledged so that the discussion can start.

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ID Code: 98134
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: No
Additional Information: A presentation in the symposium "Traffic Psychology in Low & Middle Income Countries - same-same but different?" organised by Mark King and Judy Fleiter of QUT, and also involving Paolo Perego and Barry Watson
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Traffic psychology, Road safety, Low and middle income countries, Cross-cultural studies
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > OTHER STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (169900) > Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified (169999)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Psychological Methodology Design and Analysis (170110)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Psychology not elsewhere classified (170199)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 16 Aug 2016 23:09
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2016 11:12

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