To understand the neural basis of driving behavior and risk processes during adolescence and emerging adulthood and to develop individually tailored interventions to promote safe driving.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for adolescents and young adults. Research on adolescent drivers indicates that brain development and mastery of driving tasks lag behind the increased responsibility that teens experience as they learn to drive. Driving a car is a highly complex task that is influenced by a variety of neurocognitive capacities as well as social and contextual factors (i.e. peer influence) that can produce more or less risky driving.
The DrivSim Lab couples High-Fidelity Driving Simulation with Dense Array EEG Brain Imaging and Eye Tracking technologies. Research investigation focuses on more comprehensive study and characterization of neurocognitive and behavioral processes of adolescents and young adults within the complexities of the driving context.
High-Fidelity Driving Simulation
The DrivSim Lab uses a ½ - cab vehicle configuration simulator that is PC-based and provides high-fidelity simulation of vehicle dynamics. Powerful simulator software allows DrivSim Lab researchers to develop, design, and implement driving scenarios that are focused on the research areas of interest. The simulator also captures real-time driver video, acquires a multitude of driving behavior metrics, and tracks as well as automatically performs computations on important driving measures (e.g. average speed, standard deviation of speed, standard deviation of lateral position, lane departure count and percentage, average headway).
Dense Array EEG Brain Imaging
The DrivSim Lab has a fully integrated gel-based high-density electroencephalogram (EEG) system. EEG allows for high-fidelity recording of real-time brain responses to events unfolding in custom experimental paradigms within driving simulations. Through the simulator, investigators approach brain function with an ecologically sensitive context to elicit brain signals, including event-related potentials and event-related oscillations, reflecting perception, attention, decision-making and hazard detection. The DrivSim Lab also employs a full battery of established neurocognitive EEG paradigms outside of the driving context to predict performance under driving situations of varying demands, such as distracted and impaired driving.
With integrated head mounted eye-tracking linked to simultaneous EEG recording and high-fidelity driving simulation, DrivSim Lab researchers can measure eye-gaze behavior that unfolds during driving scenarios. The eye-tracker provides an important behavioral measure that allows for linking brain responses to behavior.