Good distractions: Testing the effects of listening to an audiobook on driving performance in simple and complex road environments.
Accid Anal Prev. 2017 Dec 07;111:202-209
Authors: Nowosielski RJ, Trick LM, Toxopeus R
Distracted driving (driving while performing a secondary task) causes many collisions. Most research on distracted driving has focused on operating a cell-phone, but distracted driving can include eating while driving, conversing with passengers or listening to music or audiobooks. Although the research has focused on the deleterious effects of distraction, there may be situations where distraction improves driving performance. Fatigue and boredom are also associated with collision risk and it is possible that secondary tasks can help alleviate the effects of fatigue and boredom. Furthermore, it has been found that individuals with high levels of executive functioning as measured by the OSPAN (Operation Span) task show better driving while multitasking. In this study, licensed drivers were tested in a driving simulator (a car body surrounded by screens) that simulated simple or complex roads. Road complexity was manipulated by increasing traffic, scenery, and the number of curves in the drive. Participants either drove, or drove while listening to an audiobook. Driving performance was measured in terms of braking response time to hazards (HRT): the time required to brake in response to pedestrians or vehicles that suddenly emerged from the periphery into the path of the vehicle, speed, standard deviation of speed, standard deviation of lateral position (SDLP). Overall, braking times to hazards were higher on the complex drive than the simple one, though the effects of secondary tasks such as audiobooks were especially deleterious on the complex drive. In contrast, on the simple drive, driving while listening to an audiobook lead to faster HRT. We found evidence that individuals with high OSPAN scores had faster HRTs when listening to an audiobook. These results suggest that there are environmental and individual factors behind difference in the allocation of attention while listening to audiobooks while driving.
PMID: 29223795 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Rhythmic facilitation of sensory processing: a critical review.
Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2017 Dec 06;:
Authors: Haegens S, Zion Golumbic E
Here we review the role of brain oscillations in sensory processing. We examine the idea that neural entrainment of intrinsic oscillations underlies the processing of rhythmic stimuli in the context of simple isochronous rhythms as well as in music and speech. This has been a topic of growing interest over recent years; however, many issues remain highly controversial: how do fluctuations of intrinsic neural oscillations-both spontaneous and entrained to external stimuli-affect perception, and does this occur automatically or can it be actively controlled by top-down factors? Some of the controversy in the literature stems from confounding use of terminology. Moreover, it is not straightforward how theories and findings regarding isochronous rhythms generalize to more complex, naturalistic stimuli, such as speech and music. Here we aim to clarify terminology, and distinguish between different phenomena that are often lumped together as reflecting "neural entrainment" but may actually vary in their mechanistic underpinnings. Furthermore, we discuss specific caveats and confounds related to making inferences about oscillatory mechanisms from human electrophysiological data.
PMID: 29223770 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]