The AgeLab was featured on BBC’s Horizon in “Surviving A Car Crash”. AgeLab Researcher Bryan Reimer discusses driver stress and cognitive distraction. He explains the relationship that exists between workload and performance and how this relationship relates to automotive safety and crash prevention. Research Associate Katie Godfrey has a test subject drive the MIT AgeLab’s instrumented 2010 Lincoln MKS on the highway while performing moderately demanding cognitive tasks to increase the subject’s stress levels. The test demonstrated that as workload and stress increase, so do the driver’s heart rate and other measures of physiological arousal. In addition, changes in the subject’s gaze with increased cognitive demand suggests a restriction in how visual attention is allocated to the activities on the roadway.
For additional information on this work, see the following selected references:
Mehler, B., Reimer, B., & Coughlin, J.F. (2010). Physiological Reactivity to Graded Levels of Cognitive Workload across Three Age Groups: An On-Road Evaluation. Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. San Francisco, CA. 2062-2066.
Reimer, B., Mehler, B., Wang, Y. & Coughlin, J.F. (2010). The Impact of Systematic Variation of Cognitive Demand on Drivers’ Visual Attention across Multiple Age Groups. Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. San Francisco, CA. 2052-2056.
Coughlin, J.F., Reimer, B. & Mehler, B. (2009). Driver Wellness, Safety & the Development of an AwareCar. AgeLab White Paper. (pdf)
Mehler, B., Reimer, B., Coughlin, J.F. & Dusek, J.A. (2009). The Impact of Incremental Increases in Cognitive Workload on Physiological Arousal and Performance in Young Adult Drivers. Transportation Research Record, 2138, pp. 6-12.
Reimer, B. (2009). Cognitive Task Complexity and the Impact on Drivers’ Visual Tunneling. Transportation Research Record, 2138, pp. 13-19.
Reimer, B., Mehler, B., Lammers, V., Wang, Y. & Coughlin, J.F. (2009). A Comparison of Three Manual Destination Entry Methods on Their Impact on Visual Attention and Driving Performance: An On-Road Evaluation. Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. San Antonio, TX. 1757-1761.