The Development of Standard Protocols to Improve the Quality of Driving Simulator Research
Authors: Catherine Harvey, Gary Burnett
Abstract: Simulators are widely used for investigating driving behavior under a variety of conditions. Simulators can provide a high level of relative validity, but levels of absolute validity are questionable. One drawback of simulator studies is the knowledge of participants that they are in an artificial scenario rather than driving on a real road with real consequences for performance and safety. This influences participants’ feelings of presence. There are many factors that influence presence, or the perceived ‘reality’ of a test environment, and in this paper two are discussed in detail: incentives and instructions. The use of incentives to encourage participation in research studies is inconsistent and there are many associated ethical and practical issues. Research papers rarely include descriptions of the instructions given to participants at the start of a study; however, the content and presentation of instructions can have an effect on participants’ behaviours. A methodology for a proposed study to investigate the influence of these factors in a driving simulator environment is also provided. Finally, some hypotheses for the study, based on the theory in this area, are presented for future testing.
Keywords: Driving, Simulation, Presence, Incentives, Instructions, Methodology.
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