Conference Proceeding

Aging and the Effects of Conversation with a Passenger or a Caller on Simulated Driving Performance

Authors: , , , , ,


A total of 96 pairs of older and younger drivers participated in a study assessing the effects of conversation on the driving performance of older and younger drivers in a simulated city environment. These effects were investigated while drivers conversed with an in-vehicle passenger or an outside-vehicle caller. All of the passengers completed three separate, counterbalanced blocks of tasks that consisted of two single-task blocks (driving only and conversing only) and one dual-task block (driving and conversing). The results showed greater variability in velocity, lane keeping and steering control under single-task than under dual-task conditions. Drivers also showed greater average velocity and greater deviation from the center of the lane under single-task than under dualtask conditions. However, when crossing an intersection, a task requiring greater attentional resources, drivers exhibited a cost due to the dual task. Our data are consistent with the literature, which suggests that a secondary task may aid in the performance of a routinized task but may also impose costs if the primary task requires significant attentional resources. Older drivers exhibited greater variability in velocity, stayed closer to the center of the lane, and waited longer to cross intersections than their younger counterparts, suggesting that they compensate for their declining perceptual and cognitive abilities through changes in driving behavior. Drivers exhibited greater variability in steering under singletask conditions when talking to an outside-vehicle caller, and older drivers showed greater variability in velocity when conversing with an outside-vehicle caller.


How to Cite: Becic, E. , Kubose, T. , Kramer, A. , Dell, G. , Garnsey, S. & Bock, K. (2007) “Aging and the Effects of Conversation with a Passenger or a Caller on Simulated Driving Performance”, Driving Assessment Conference. 4(2007). doi: