Applied Safety + Ergonomics

J. Jay Todd, Ph.D.

Dr. Todd holds a Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis in Neuroscience from Vanderbilt University. His Ph.D. research investigated how our brain keeps track of information stored in memory for short periods of time. He also researched the development of awareness over brief periods of time. This included investigating how being startled can impair our awareness of and response to expected events, and how the difficulty of a task can influence our ability to perceive unexpected events. As a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Chicago, Dr. Todd investigated how stress and anxiety can adversely affect how we attempt to solve problems and can lead to otherwise easily avoidable mistakes.

Dr. Todd investigates the effects of limitations in task performance and perception on our awareness and experience of events in our environment. Dr. Todd applies his knowledge and expertise to investigate a variety of incidents involving pedestrians and vehicle operators. Vehicle incidents include passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, bicycles, motorcycles, etc. He investigates misstep/trip-and-falls, retail accidents, diving accidents, perception and response behavior of pedestrians and drivers, issues of lighting and visibility, and use of consumer and industrial products. The scope of these investigations includes analyses of visual and auditory perception, decision-making processes, eye gaze behavior, the contribution of experience and expectancy to awareness and task performance, eye-witness memory, and the relationship of age and performance, fatigue, effects of alcohol and drugs on performance, instructions and safety information, and warning application and compliance. He addresses issues related to performance under pressure and in highly stressful/emotional situations. He also investigates the development and speed at which we become aware of events, e.g., an imminent vehicle collision and awareness of pain and suffering.

More recently, Dr. Todd has investigated and published research related to driver and pedestrian visibility and performance. This includes a scientifically-based methodology to present the jury with a photograph that accurately portrays the lighting conditions at an accident scene. He has published research on the contribution of different sources of nighttime ambient illumination, which is used to identify the amount of lighting that an individual may use to perceive hazards and other objects in dark environments. He has developed a mathematical model that can be used to accurately and efficiently predict a driver’s available sightline. Collectively, these techniques can help present to the jury a more robust view of the capabilities and opportunities afforded to drivers and pedestrians in a traffic accident.

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Applied Safety and Ergonomics has been providing valuable analysis, insight, answers, training, data, and problem solving strategies in consultation and expert witness capacities to help clients make informed decisions since 1994.