Time perception as a workload measure in simulated car driving

Appl Ergon. 2009 Sep;40(5):929-35. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2009.01.004. Epub 2009 Feb 7.


In experimental studies using flight simulations subjects' duration estimates have shown to be an effective indicator of cognitive task demands. In this study we wanted to find out whether subjective time perception could serve as a measure of cognitive workload during simulated car driving. Participants drove on a round course of a driving simulator consisting of three different environments with different levels of task demands. Drivers were required to perform a time-production task while driving the vehicle. Electrodermal activity and subjective ratings of mental workload (SWAT) were recorded simultaneously. The length of produced intervals increased significantly in more complex driving situations, as did electrodermal activity and subjective ratings of mental workload. Thus, time production is a valid indicator of cognitive involvement in simulated driving and could become a valid method to measure the current mental workload of car drivers in various traffic situations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Automobiles*
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Perception*
  • Workload*