Prospective memory while driving: comparison of time- and event-based intentions

Steven L. Trawley, Amanda N. Stephens, Peter G. Rendell, John A. Groeger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Prospective memories can divert attentional resources from ongoing activities. However, it is unclear whether these effects and the theoretical accounts that seek to explain them will generalise to a complex real-world task such as driving. Twenty-four participants drove two simulated routes while maintaining a fixed headway with a lead vehicle. Drivers were given either event-based (e.g. arriving at a filling station) or time-based errands (e.g. on-board clock shows 3:30). In contrast to the predominant view in the literature which suggests time-based tasks are more demanding, drivers given event-based errands showed greater difficulty in mirroring lead vehicle speed changes compared to the time-based group. Results suggest that common everyday secondary tasks, such as scouting the roadside for a bank, may have a detrimental impact on driving performance. The additional finding that this cost was only evident with the event-based task highlights a potential area of both theoretical and practical interest. Practitioner Summary: Drivers were given either time- or event-based errands whilst engaged in a simulated drive. We examined the effect of errands on an ongoing vehicle follow task. In contrast to previous non-driving studies, event-based errands are more disruptive. Common everyday errands may have a detrimental impact on driving performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)780-790
Number of pages11
JournalErgonomics
Volume60
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • delayed intentions
  • distractions
  • driving
  • driving simulator
  • Prospective memory
  • virtual environment

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