Browse Publications Technical Papers 09-09-02-0005

A Willingness to Learn: Elder Attitudes toward Technology 09-09-02-0005

This also appears in SAE International Journal of Transportation Safety-V130-9EJ

The ability of senior citizens as well as other members of the general population to engage in an effective manner with technology is of increasing importance as new and innovative technologies become available. While recognizing the challenges that technologies can have on different populations, the ability to interact successfully with new technologies will, for seniors, have important consequences that can affect their quality of life and those of their families in numerous and important ways. This study, building upon previous research, examines the major dimensions of decision-making regarding attitudes toward autonomous vehicle technologies (ATVs) and their use. The study utilized data from a study of senior citizens in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area and compared the results with a sample of graduate students from a local university. Findings suggest that, although the usual caveats apply when comparing relatively small samples, the attitudes of mid-career professionals and senior citizens are not that far apart, and indeed appear to be converging. Older citizens appear willing to adopt certain practical aspects of technology. On the other hand, the study indicates that there are significant differences involving the degree of comfort with learning new technologies. Indeed, for both populations, the need for greater cognition would appear to be a significant barrier to new technology adoption. This study provides new insights into the similarities and differences between and across age groups that may have significant implications for the future.


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