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Romain Chaumillon, Jesse Michaels, David Nguyen-Tri, Donald Hiroshi Watanabe, Pierro Hirsch, François Bellavance, Guillaume L Giraudet, Delphine Bernardin, Jocelyn Faubert; Scenarios and measures to faithfully evaluate hazardous driving behavior: new insights on the usefulness of using perceptual-cognitive measures. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(8):4716.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Vehicle driving is a complex task involving multiple cognitive processes such as visuo-spatial skills and attentional processes. Accordingly, simple measures of vehicle manoeuvring might be dependent on the visual attentional load and cannot be sufficient by themselves to faithfully evaluate hazardous driving behavior. This study examined which of the experimental measures, visual attentional load or perceptual-cognitive functions, revealed differences in driving abilities.
A total of 115 licensed drivers between the ages of 18 and 86 performed three simulator scenarios each meant to represent ecological driving environments with an increasing visual attentional load: highway (i.e. low), rural (i.e. middle) and city (i.e. high). Through partial correlations and ANCOVA controlling for mean speed, we assessed the reliability of 22 driving measures to capture the reaction from participants when facing dangerous events. Additionally, we used an independent task known as 3-Dimensional Multiple Object Tracking (3D-MOT) to assess the participants’ ability to simultaneously track and maintain their attention on multiple moving objects.
The rural scenario, designed as a middle ground in terms of visual attentional load, ultimately lead to be the most efficient across age. For instance, the well-known propensity of older adults to have more crashes when facing unexpected events was evidenced only in this scenario (F(1,112)=3.55; p=.03). Importantly, our perceptual-cognitive measure (3D-MOT) was relevant as it was strongly correlated with the mean speed naturally adopted by the participants (r(113)=.54, p<.001). This result indicates that more the perceptual-cognitive abilities were altered, more driving speed was decreased.
Our results demonstrate that subtle differences in driving abilities were better captured when attentional load was moderate enough to challenge but did not overwhelm the participants. They also suggest the usefulness of using perceptual-cognitive measures in driving simulator studies. We propose that such a measure could be informative, not just to assess perceptual and cognitive differences between age-groups, but also to determine the influence of subtle changes in cognition on driving behaviours.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2017 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Baltimore, MD, May 7-11, 2017.
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