ALCOHOL AND DRIVING PERFORMANCE: AN INFORMATION PROCESSING ANALYSIS

A simple driving act such as stopping at a stop sign can be divided into a number of distinct information processing stages. Various reaction time procedures than can be used to assess the validity of such stages and to determine what psychological variables affect each of them. Several experiments using these techniques with alcohol suggest that the drug impairs stages which involve translating from one code to another. The study presented in detail in this paper confirms this hypothesis in that word reading (which involves a "visual-to-verbal" translation operation) was slowed by alcohol, while word shadowing which has no apparent translation requirements was not affected. Since practice reduces the translation load in any task, one can conclude that (1) experienced drivers will be less affected by alcohol than the novice and that (2) the experienced driver, when intoxicated, will have the most difficulty in unpracticed situations. Nevertheless, the experienced driver will be somewhat impaired by the drug in performing any act, no matter how familiar, which requires a translation operation. /Author/

  • Corporate Authors:

    Oklahoma State Department of Mental Health

    P.O. Box 53277, Capital Station, Division of Alcoholism
    Oklahoma City, OK  USA  73105
  • Authors:
    • Tharp, V K
  • Publication Date: 1975

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: p. 12-18
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00148783
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Safety Council Safety Research Info Serv
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 19 1977 12:00AM