Blocking-out auditory distracters while driving: A cognitive strategy to reduce task-demands on the road

Ayca Berfu Unal*, Samantha Platteel, Linda Steg, Kai Epstude

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

20 Citaten (Scopus)
297 Downloads (Pure)


The current research examined how drivers handle task-demands induced by listening to the radio while driving. In particular, we explored the traces of a possible cognitive strategy that might be used by drivers to cope with task-demands, namely blocking-out auditory distracters. In Study 1 (N = 15), participants listened to a radio-broadcast while watching traffic videos on a screen. Based on a recall task asking about what they had listened to, we created baseline scores reflecting the general levels of blocking-out of radio-content when there was no concurrent driving task accompanying the radio-listening. In Study 2 (N = 46), participants were asked to complete two drives in the simulator: one drive in high-complexity traffic and another in low-complexity traffic. About half of the participants listened to a radio-broadcast while driving, and the other half drove in silence. The radio-listeners were given the same recall task that we had used in Study 1. The results revealed that the participants who drove while listening to the radio (Study 2) recalled less material from the radio-broadcast as compared to the participants who did not drive (Study 1). In addition, the participants who drove while listening to the radio recalled less talk-radio excerpts when driving in high-complexity traffic than when driving in low-complexity traffic. Importantly, listening to the radio did not impair driving performance. Together, these findings indicate that blocking-out radio-content might indeed be a strategy used by drivers to maintain their driving performance. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)934-942
Aantal pagina's9
TijdschriftAccident Analysis and Prevention
StatusPublished - jan.-2013

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