Abstract

The present study empirically examined the effects of working memory capacity (WMC) and executive attention on distracted driving. Study 1 examined whether a Grocery List Task (GLT) distractor would load onto WMC. Forty-three participants completed a series of WMC tasks followed by the GLT. They then completed two driving trials: driving without the GLT and driving while completing the GLT. It was hypothesized that WMC would positively correlate with GLT performance. A bivariate correlation indicated that WMC was positively associated with performance on the GLT. Study 2 tested a series of distractor tasks (GLT, Tone Monitoring, and Stop Signal) to examine whether these three distractor tasks were also related to WMC, and if each of the distractor tasks would result in poor driving performance. Eighty-four participants were randomly assigned to the distractor conditions. Results indicated that GLT was related to WMC, but Tone Monitoring was not related to WMC. Also, engaging in each of the three distractor tasks led to significantly poorer driving performance. Study 3 evaluated whether rainy or clear weather conditions would affect the relationship between WMC and distracted driving using the same three distractor tasks (GLT, Tone Monitoring, and Stop Signal) as used in Study 2. Ninety-six participants were randomly assigned to the distractor conditions. Results showed that engaging in GLT while driving led to slower braking response times compared to not engaging in GLT driving while driving. Furthermore, WMC moderated the degree to which distraction impaired performance. The present findings clearly indicate that all three distractor tasks had a deleterious effect on driving performance. Furthermore, this effect of distraction on driving depends on many factors, including the type of distraction, the driving performance measure, and the individual's cognitive capabilities. Both theoretical and practical implications are discussed and directions for future research are presented.

Graduation Date

2018

Semester

Spring

Advisor

Mouloua, Mustapha

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Psychology

Degree Program

Psychology; Human Factors Cognitive Psychology

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0007042

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0007042

Language

English

Release Date

May 2018

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

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