Emotion dynamics and automobile driving in normal and abnormal aging
Risk-perception has been studied in laboratory settings for more than a half-century. In Iowa, I study this topic in a more realistic and complicated situation: driving.
I study people with focal brain lesions, people with neurodegenerative diseases, and healthy elderly people. In most of my studies, I use driving simulators to create well-controlled but very realistic task scenarios. One driving simulator I am using is a four-door real size car with four display channels (150 degree forward view and 50 degree rear view; for more details, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~neuroerg/index.html (link is external)) In the simulators, I collect data on subjects’ vehicle control, self-report, eye-movement, and psychophysiological activities. I also analyze their MRI scans and neuropsychological test scores.
In my current research, I explore the factors which can change people’s risk-perception during driving. In one project, I studied the effects of social pressure (being honked at) on risk-perception in people with prefrontal lesions. In my dissertation, I plan to further examine how people’s risk-perception can be explicitly and implicitly changed by ambient traffic, and how personality factors and self-awareness can modulate this effect.