Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Alvaro Fernandez: Can Videogames Make You a Better Driver?

New study effects of video games on driving ...

"A few weeks ago, in my post on Why Do You Turn Down the Radio When You're Lost, we discussed some of the mental skills required for driving-and why multitasking behind the wheel is a bad idea.

Now, the $1 Million Question is, "Can training help one multitask, and drive, better?". Specifically, can some video games do so?.

The New York Times just published this article: "Are You a Good Driver? Here's How to Find Out". A few quotes:

- "COULD a video game make you a better driver? More important, could computer software prevent teenagers from making fatal mistakes or even weed out older drivers whose debilities make them crash-prone?"

- "There are already programs like AAA's Roadwise Review (about $15), which is intended to help older people evaluate their driving."

- "There are other programs that will test mental agility and then use subsequent computer training sessions to improve a driver's skills. One such program is an online application called DriveFit ($89), which was developed by CogniFit, an Israeli company specializing in cognitive training software. DriveFit uses visual and memory tests to measure 12 driving-related cognitive abilities."

A question we often get when talking with insurance companies about our just released Brain Fitness Market Report, "So, can we really train drivers to act smarter behind the wheel"? Well, it depends of what "smarter" means (we are not aware of brain training programs to make drivers avoid alcohol, or sleep-inducing medicaments, before driving), but there is growing evidence that specific cognitive skills that are important for driving can, indeed, be trained, resulting in better driving outcomes.

... In short, more likely than not, we can reply YES to the question used to open the New York Times article. A well-designed video game CAN make one a better driver.

Of course, this is an emerging field, and much more research needs to be done before applications become mainstream, but the field certainly deserves more attention, research dollars, and engagement by insurance companies to design and conduct real-world trials."    (Continued via The Huffington Post)    [Ergonomics Resources]

Listen to this article


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6:28 AM  

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