Coupling Neuroscience and Driving Simulation: A Systematic Review of Studies on Crash-Risk Behaviors in Young Drivers

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for adolescents and young adults. The aim of this study is to examine and discuss the state-of-the-art literature which uses neuroscience methods in the context of driving simulation to study adolescent and young adult drivers. The authors conducted a systematic English-language literature search of Ovid MEDLINE (1946–2020), PsycINFO (1967–2020), PubMed, Web of Science, SCOPUS, and CINAHL using keywords and MeSH terms. Studies were excluded if participants were not within the ages of 15–25, if the driving simulator did not include a visual monitor/computer monitor/projection screen and steering wheel and foot pedals, or brain data (specifically EEG [electroencephalogram], fNIRS [functional near-infrared spectroscopy], or fMRI [functional magnetic resonance imaging]) was not collected at the same time as driving simulation data. Seventy-six full text articles of the 736 studies that met inclusion criteria were included in the final review. The 76 articles used one of the following neuroscience methods: electrophysiology, functional near-infrared spectroscopy, or functional magnetic resonance imaging. In the identified studies, there were primarily two areas of investigation pursued; driving impairment and distraction in driving. Impairment studies primarily explored the areas of drowsy/fatigued driving or alcohol-impaired driving. Studies of distracted driving primarily focused on cognitive load and auditory and visual distractors. The state of the science systematic review highlights the feasibility for coupling neuroscience with driving simulation to study the neurocorrelates of driving behaviors in the context of young drivers and neuromaturation. Findings show that, to date, most research has focused on examining brain correlates and driving behaviors related to contributing factors for fatal motor vehicle crashes. However, there remains a considerable paucity of research designed to understand underlying brain mechanisms that might otherwise facilitate greater understanding of individual variability of normative and risky driving behavior within the young driving population.


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  • Accession Number: 01762449
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jan 13 2021 3:00PM