Authors: Berthon-Donk, Vera
Title: Effect of aging on learning in a dual task driving environment
Other Titles: An empirical study
Language (ISO): en
Abstract: The purpose of the present thesis was to explore a particular question within the research domain of dual-task driving: Can older people learn how to use an Intelligent Driver Support Systems (IDSS)? According to relevant learning theories, such as the Adaptive Control of Thought - Rational (ACT-R) and the Skill-Knowledge-Rule (SKR- Model) Model, learning will lead to automatization, which will free up resources, eventually leading to an improvement in dual-task situations as interference increases (despite age effects). In this thesis, all experiments took place in a laboratory-controlled environment, using the Lane Change Test (LCT) as the primary driving task and a visual search task as a secondary task. A first experiment explored whether the analysis of the LCT could be adapted to individual driving styles (e.g. of older drivers). In Experiment 2, End-of-Block Feedback (Summary Knowledge of Results, SKR) was used as a method to shift priorities in a dual-task driving environment towards the primary task. In Experiment 3, results showed that practice had a positive effect on dual-task driving performance for both younger and older adults. Performance differences between age groups remained however and were especially visible in more difficult driving situations or general increases in dual-task complexity (i.e., in a dual-task situation as compared to a single-task situation). The experiment showed furthermore that acquired skills remain stable over time, even after a retention period. Finally, results of Experiment 4, showed that a relevant secondary task, which cannot be ignored, had a strong effect especially on driving performance measures, particularly for older adults. Learning had a beneficial effect on both age groups though: Driving performance increased with practice over sessions. Especially older adults benefited from practice, by increasing their capacity to divide their attention between two tasks that were almost equally demanding. All together, the laboratory studies in this thesis seem to provide first indications that indeed practice can help older adults to attenuate or overcome initial age-related difficulties in a dual-task driving situation. Practical implications, such as training programs designed at learning to drive with IDSS, are discussed. Nevertheless, Future research should focus on replicating those findings in more ecologically valid environments, to evaluate older adults' performance in more realistic situations and to examine (potential) compensation strategies.
Subject Headings: Driving
Dual task
Subject Headings (RSWK): Alter
Issue Date: 2014-03-20
Appears in Collections:Institut für Psychologie

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