Simulator Validity: Behaviors Observed on the Simulator and on the Road

Driving simulators offer a safe, convenient alternative to measuring driving performance on-road. However, the results of simulator studies may not generalize to driving in the real world if the simulator lacks behavioral validity. Behavioral validity refers to the extent to which the simulator elicits the same driving behaviors that occur when driving in the real world. Validation is important to generate and maintain simulator use, acceptance, and credibility, and is vital when simulator performance influences real-world outcomes, such as road or vehicle design, or whether drivers retain their license. A review of studies evaluating the behavioral validity of simulators showed that simulators provide a valid tool for assessing a variety of driving performance measures such as speed, lateral position, brake onset, divided attention, and risky traffic behaviors. Simulators also appear sensitive to age-related changes in driving performance and cognition. Measures for which simulators do not appear valid are discussed, in addition to factors influencing validity, such as driving ability. Overall, the evidence reviewed in this chapter indicates that simulator driving behavior approximates (relative validity), but does not exactly replicate (absolute validity), on-road driving behavior. This is sufficient for the majority of research, training, and assessment purposes for which simulators are used. However, where absolute values are required, on-road measures will generally be necessary. Validation studies involve consideration of factors such as the research question, task conditions, and dependent measures, each of which can affect validity. The authors discuss these methodological considerations, as well as statistical techniques used to establish validity. Assumptions about driving simulator validity are critically dependent on the specific experimental conditions under which the driving behaviors are compared. Variations across simulator equipment, software, and environment may affect the generalizability of validation results. Therefore, each simulator should be validated for its ability to measure the driving behavior of the cohort for which it is to be used.

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    CRC Press

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    Boca Raton, FL  United States  33487
  • Authors:
    • Mullen, Nadia
    • Charlton, Judith
    • Devlin, Anna
    • Bedard, Michel
  • Publication Date: 2011


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 13-1 – 13-18
  • Monograph Title: Handbook of Driving Simulation for Engineering, Medicine and Psychology

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01351640
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9781420061000
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 1 2011 11:13AM