Speed-of-processing and driving simulator training result in improved driving performance

Hum Factors. 2003 Summer;45(2):218-33. doi: 10.1518/hfes.


Useful field of view, a measure of processing speed and spatial attention, can be improved with training. We evaluated the effects of this improvement on older adults' driving performance. Elderly adults participated in a speed-of-processing training program (N = 48), a traditional driver training program performed in a driving simulator (N = 22), or a low-risk reference group (N = 25). Before training, immediately after training or an equivalent time delay, and after an 18-month delay each participant was evaluated in a driving simulator and completed a 14-mile (22.5-km) open-road driving evaluation. Speed-of-processing training, but not simulator training, improved a specific measure of useful field of view (UFOV), transferred to some simulator measures, and resulted in fewer dangerous maneuvers during the driving evaluation. The simulator-trained group improved on two driving performance measures: turning into the correct lane and proper signal use. Similar effects were not observed in the speed-of-processing training or low-risk reference groups. The persistence of these effects over an 18-month test interval was also evaluated. Actual or potential applications of this research include driver assessment and/or training programs and cognitive intervention programs for older adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attention / physiology
  • Automobile Driving / education*
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Reaction Time*
  • United States
  • Visual Perception / physiology