Location

Bolton Landing, New York

Date

18-6-2013

Session

Session 4 – Poster Session A

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to examine age differences in executive function as measured by novel driving-specific tests of executive function using a novel driving simulator. Developmental changes in executive function have been implicated as possible contributing factors to elevated crash statistics for both older adult (over age 65) and adolescent (between age 15 and 20) populations, however for different reasons. Poorer older adult driving performance has been partially attributed to general age-related cognitive decline in executive function mediated by age-related frontal-lobe atrophy and neural disconnection. Immature executive function has been implicated in poorer adolescent driving performance and is thought to be expressed in situations where the developmentally high sensitivity of the socio-emotional reward system outcompetes the regulatory influence of the under developed executive system. Using a new, high fidelity, virtual reality driving simulator, we created drivingspecific tests to assess executive function. These operational tests employed driving-relevant stimuli, with driving-relevant challenges, that required drivingrelevant responses, in a driving-relevant context. Fifteen older adult and 20 adolescent drivers completed these driving-specific executive function tests. We hypothesized that poorer older adult driving performance would be reflected on these driving specific tests of executive function due to general cognitive decline and that, given the absence of social-emotional reward, adolescents would outperform older adults. Analyses of both bivariate correlations and group comparisons generally supported these predictions.

Rights

Copyright © 2013 the author(s)

DC Citation

Proceedings of the Seventh International Driving Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training and Vehicle Design, June 17-20, 2013, Bolton Landing, New York. Iowa City, IA: Public Policy Center, University of Iowa, 2013: 114-120.

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Jun 18th, 12:00 AM

Age Differences in Driving-Specific Tests of Executive Function

Bolton Landing, New York

The purpose of the present study was to examine age differences in executive function as measured by novel driving-specific tests of executive function using a novel driving simulator. Developmental changes in executive function have been implicated as possible contributing factors to elevated crash statistics for both older adult (over age 65) and adolescent (between age 15 and 20) populations, however for different reasons. Poorer older adult driving performance has been partially attributed to general age-related cognitive decline in executive function mediated by age-related frontal-lobe atrophy and neural disconnection. Immature executive function has been implicated in poorer adolescent driving performance and is thought to be expressed in situations where the developmentally high sensitivity of the socio-emotional reward system outcompetes the regulatory influence of the under developed executive system. Using a new, high fidelity, virtual reality driving simulator, we created drivingspecific tests to assess executive function. These operational tests employed driving-relevant stimuli, with driving-relevant challenges, that required drivingrelevant responses, in a driving-relevant context. Fifteen older adult and 20 adolescent drivers completed these driving-specific executive function tests. We hypothesized that poorer older adult driving performance would be reflected on these driving specific tests of executive function due to general cognitive decline and that, given the absence of social-emotional reward, adolescents would outperform older adults. Analyses of both bivariate correlations and group comparisons generally supported these predictions.