University of Twente Student Theses


Electrodermal activity of novice drivers during driving simulator training - an explorative study

Schnittker, Raphaela (2012) Electrodermal activity of novice drivers during driving simulator training - an explorative study.

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Abstract:The goal of this study is to gain insight into physiological patterns of novice drivers (zero years of experience, never driven before) during their first driving simulation training. This training has the aim to prepare the learners for driving on-road. Physiological levels were obtained by means of electrodermal activity (EDA) measurement. EDA was traced by Affectiva Q-sensors, which are unobtrusive wristbands with a wireless biosensor. Five participants aged between 17 and 18 were followed during their entire simulation training program. EDA patterns manifested in orienting reflexes (skin conductance responses, indicators for cognitive involvement) and habituation effects were investigated. We expected that there are fewer orienting reflexes on the highway, due to less interaction with road users and other traffic control devices. Furthermore, there should be a negative correlation between driven speed and EDA. The theoretical framework for this was the risk homeostasis theory which claims that individuals adjust their behavior to maintain a constant level of perceived risk. The explorative analysis indicated a high variation in EDA levels across sessions and participants. Moreover, opposite habituation effects were found, showing habituation (lower EDA levels) from session to session, but an increase in EDA levels within sessions. Furthermore there were high variations in EDA levels present within sessions, which suggests variations in mental workload within sessions. Significant differences in EDA levels and habituation effects were also found between participants. Also, significant differences were found between sessions, with less orienting responses on the highway, thereby accepting the first hypothesis. A risk homeostasis could not be found in this study. Generally this study indicates that EDA measurement by means of Affectiva Q-sensors is a valid, unobtrusive approach to assess individual differences in EDA in novice drivers during their driving simulator training. Moreover, the study reveals that the used driving simulator is capable of eliciting predicted orienting responses in specific driving situations (i.e. differences in responses in situations on the highway) which underlines their fidelity. As this explorative study gained insight in EDA patterns of novice drivers in a simulated driving environment, it can give direction for more specific follow up research. Also it is considered to be relevant for the simulation industry, driving schools, traffic psychology and psychophysiology research in the field of human factors and ergonomics.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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