Visual Attention and Older Drivers: The Contribution of Inhibition of Return to Safe Driving.
OLDER automobile drivers
Experimental Aging Research; Apr2006, Vol. 32 Issue 2, p119-135, 17p, 1 Diagram, 2 Charts, 3 Graphs
Increasing data suggest that visual attention may be impaired in some older drivers, and that such impairment may be related to poorer driving abilities and a higher crash risk. Because effective scanning of the environment is important for safe driving, the authors sought to examine the relationship between a reflexive visual attention mechanism and driving. To examine this issue the authors conducted a preliminary study using the inhibition of return (IOR) paradigm, which has been labeled as a fundamental search mechanism. Forty-one drivers aged 55 and over completed two on-road driving evaluations and IOR testing. After accounting for the contribution of age, IOR statistically predicted overall driving evaluation scores (p = .045), and the number of errors in scanning the environment (p = .031). To the authors' knowledge these findings represent the first documentation of a relationship between IOR and driving. The results are informative regarding the importance of reflexive visual attention mechanisms towards safe driving. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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