Neuroergonomics Behind the Wheel: Neural Correlates of Driving

  • Macie Ware
  • Jing Feng
  • Chang S. NamEmail author
Part of the Cognitive Science and Technology book series (CSAT)


Each year around the world, approximately 1.25 million lives are lost in fatal vehicle crashes. This statistic equates to 3,434 deaths per day. In addition, another 20–50 million people are injured or disabled in crashes (Association for Safe International Road Travel 2002). This chapter provides a review of studies that utilized neurocognitive methods to study how a driver’s brain functions to support various tasks while driving. These changes in brain activity can show how secondary tasks, distractions, and substances degrade driver performance and increase crash risks. The neural techniques analyzed in this chapter include electroencephalography (EEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), and magnetoencephalography (MEG). Most participants for these studies were in their mid-20s, except for a few in which the study’s purpose was to analyze driving performance between age groups. Given the difficulty in collecting neural activity data while a driver is on the road, most studies utilized driving simulation as opposed to on-road driving. Current findings suggest a critical role of frontal regions of the brain in driving. In addition, this chapter analyzes the effects that independent variables added to the driving task have on the organizational planning levels—strategical, tactical, and operational planning along with the brain activity that accompanies this planning. Lastly, the chapter provides a discussion of limitations of this literature and future directions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial & Systems EngineeringNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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