Type of Proposal
24-3-2015 1:00 PM
24-3-2015 1:50 PM
Faculty of Human Kinetics
Professor Adriana Duquette
Importance of the Project
The research that was completed was an original interpretation of the effects on an individual’s reaction time (RT) and movement time (MT) while text messaging during simulated driving. Some previous studies have analyzed either RT and MT while driving, yet incorrectly labelled response time (the sum of RT and MT) as RT, did not use a driving simulator, or did not analyse simulated driving while text messaging. To try to avoid buying multiple simulators and pedal/steering wheel apparatuses, the purpose of the current study was to combine previously used methods to develop a simple method of testing RT and MT during simulated driving with or without text messaging. A custom LabVIEW (National Instruments, Texas, USA) program was created to test simple RT and MT during simulated driving with and without text messaging. In order to create a more realistic driving condition, foot switch mats were used.
Existing State of Knowledge
Of the previous studies that have analyzed either RT and MT while driving (Consiglio et al., 2003; Long et al., 2012), some have incorrectly labelled response time (the sum of RT and MT) as RT (Drews et al., 2009; Park et al., 2013; Reed & Robbins, 2008), some did not use a driving simulator (Elliott & Louttit, 1937; Leung et al., 2012), while others did not analyse simulated driving while text messaging (Carreiro et al., 2011; Deary et al., 2001; Henry & Rogers, 1960; Maslovat et al. 2012; Spirduso, 1974; Spiteri et al., 2013; Weiss, 1965). The current study combined previously used methods to develop a simple method of testing RT and MT during simulated driving with or without text messaging.
The purpose of this study was to combine previously used methods to develop a simple method of testing RT and MT during simulated driving with or without text messaging.
One-hundred and seventy university-aged participants completed the simulated driving experiment as part of their upper-year ‘Laboratory Experience’ course in the Kinesiology Department at the University of Windsor between the Fall of 2011 and Winter of 2013. Students had the option of collecting personal data, and once said data was collected, they had the option of allowing the instructor to use their data after final grades were distributed, in accordance with the Research Ethics Board at the University of Windsor. The two conditions (texting and no-texting), each with 170 observations, yielded a total of 340 observations for analysis.
The current study examined RT, MT and response time during a no-texting (control) condition and a second texting condition, both while simulating driving. For the no-texting condition, each participant began the test by pressing and holding their foot on the right side (“gas pedal”) of a foot switch mat. Once a red stimulus appeared, the participant lifted their foot from the right side of the switch mat and pressed their foot onto the left side (“brake pedal”) of the mat. The time to release the “gas pedal” was recorded as the simple RT, while the time between the release of the “gas pedal” and the initial pressing of the “brake pedal” was recorded as the MT. The same protocol was then completed for the second condition, however, the participants were asked to type a “text message” that appeared while pressing the “gas pedal”. In both conditions, the sequence was repeated 10 times and an average RT (seconds) and an average MT (seconds) were recorded.
RT and MT during the texting condition (0.47s ± 0.10s and 0.28s ± 0.16s) took longer than the no-texting condition (0.34s ± 0.05s and 0.22s ± 0.11s), p=.000 and p=.001, respectively. Also, longer response times were recorded during the texting condition (0.75s ± 0.19s) than the no-texting condition (0.56s ± 0.12s), p=.000. Increases in response time (RT + MT) of 189 ms during the texting condition would equate to an additional 4.2 meters (to react to the stimulus and begin braking) if the participant had been driving an automobile at 80 km/h. Increasing task complexity due to the dual-task demand of text messaging during simulated driving caused significant increases in RT (41%), MT (23%) and response time (34%), thus further strengthening the mounting evidence against text messaging while driving.
The main differences in RT noted between studies occurred when a more complex task was completed. The complexity of the task could be increased in future studies if a question was posted on the computer interface, therefore requiring the participant to read the message and formulate a response prior to responding with their own text message, thus further dividing attention and increasing the difficulty of the current task. Furthermore, since substantial increases in RT, MT and response times while text messaging and driving have been reported in the literature, it would be beneficial to identify reasons why individuals continue to read and send text messages while driving, despite new legislation and safety reports. Future studies could attempt to ascertain why individuals text message while driving, while also examining how they perceive their own abilities while text messaging and driving, and lastly, to determine if they are aware of the detrimental impact a seemingly minute difference in RT (e.g., 137 ms) can have on their driving performance and ability to prevent automobile accidents.
Increased Reaction and Movement Times when Text Messaging during Simulated Driving