A passenger reduces sleepy driver's activation in the right prefrontal cortex: A laboratory study using near-infrared spectroscopy

The present study aimed to examine how a passenger affects the sleepiness effect (awake vs. sleepy) on an individual's prefrontal activation during a simulated driving-game task using a wireless portable near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) device. Participants drove from start to goal along default routes either solely (no-passenger group) or with a friend sitting beside him/her as a passenger (with-passenger group). Sleepiness level was assessed by a five-item scale questionnaire. In the no-passenger group, there were no performance and activation differences between the sleepy and awake participants. In the with-passenger group, by contrast, the sleepy participants showed more errors and lower activations in their right prefrontal cortex than the awake participants. These results suggest that a passenger has little effect on awake participants, but may weaken the sleepy participants’ vigilance and/or their cognitive abilities of action control. Practically, the present study demonstrates that NIRS may provide us a new possibility to monitor and examine the driver's mental states in the brain.


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  • Accession Number: 01613902
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 2 2016 9:09AM