Hypovigilance in driving situations


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Drowsiness due to long driving times impairs the ability to react quickly in case of sudden events. Tallying with this, the Yerkes-Dodson Law states that behavioural output can be depicted as an inverted U-shaped curve with low (fatigue) and high arousal (stress) involving decrements in performance. To determine physiological changes as well as behavioural consequences during monotonous and tiring situations, our student Tauqeer Ashraf applied a virtual driving scenario that involves a continuous performance task of varying difficulty. Participants are instructed to control a vehicle through a low-stimulus environment. Depending on the experimental condition, they occasionally need to react to simple cues (low arousal condition) or maintain high attention while processing complex cues (high arousal condition). Sound design and colouring are assumed to promote states of low bodily arousal.

Aim of the study is to induce states of hypovigilance in a controlled laboratory setting on basis of monotonous/repetitive tasks and to investigate influences on behavioural performance.

Related publications

Ehlers, J. (2020). Exploring the effect of transient cognitive load on bodily arousal and secondary task performance. In Proceedings of the Conference on Mensch und Computer (pp. 7-10). https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/3404983.3410017