Conference Proceeding

Cocktail Party Effect& Attention Capture in Semi-Autonomous Driving

  • Crystal Tobias (Volkswagen Group of America, Belmont, CA)
  • Chen-Yung Su (Volkswagen Group of America, Belmont, CA)
  • Lutz Kolburg (Volkswagen Group of America, Belmont, CA)
  • Brian Lathrop (Volkswagen Group of America, Belmont, CA)


A personal name has proven to be an effective stimulus to capture attention. The goal of this pilot study is to test if a personal name can be used as an effective audio warning for drivers of semi-autonomous vehicles. Participants drove a driving simulator in both manual and semiautonomous driving conditions while doing a secondary task. An emergency situation was simulated, and participants were presented with a warning tone or his/her personal name. Reaction times for braking, steering, and eye disengagement were recorded. There was no significant main effect for cue type, a marginally significant interaction effect across driving condition and cue type, and a significant main effect for driving condition. These results suggest that engagement in a secondary task while driving semi-autonomously causes diverted driver attention to be at its highest. Importantly, however, the use of one’s personal name shows promise in capturing attention back to the driving task and warrants deeper investigation for future research.

How to Cite:

Tobias, C. & Su, C. & Kolburg, L. & Lathrop, B., (2013) “Cocktail Party Effect& Attention Capture in Semi-Autonomous Driving”, Driving Assessment Conference 7(2013), 467-473. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2013 the author(s)

Download pdf
View PDF



Published on
20 Jun 2013
Peer Reviewed