Attention and action preparation during lane change maneuvers: The role of irrelevant information
Authors: Nikita Rajendra Sharma, Jai Prakash Kushvah, Gerhard Rinkenauer
Abstract: Safe driving behaviour during lane change is the function of selecting and processing task relevant cues from the ongoing driving environment; enabling the goal-directed preparatory process. Such preparatory information typically facilitates reaction time to the anticipated event. However, it is unclear how the additional information other than task specific cues from the driving environment act on preparatory processes while driving a car. We implemented a pre-cue paradigm in a simulated lane change task (LCT) to answer this question. In contrast to the standard paradigm, additional information was presented either just before the preparatory stimulus (pre-cue) or the target stimulus (pre-target) that was either congruent, incongruent, or neutral to the lane change direction. Reaction time and amplitudes of steering out and in angles (A1 and A2) were measured as dependent variables. Results showed that reaction time and steering in amplitude A2 were increased when the additional information was presented before the final target for intended action and similarly when the additional information presented in the same lane changed direction (congruent). Later one accounts for contingent attentional capture. To accommodate the entire pattern of results observed in the study, we tentatively suggest that any information which is not relevant for the intended action have considerable influence on attention and action preparation on the basis of the temporal and visuo-spatial positioning. A strong effect is found especially at the time of the final determination of the upcoming driving manoeuvre.
Keywords: Action preparation, Contingent attentional capture, Lane change task, Reaction time
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