The Effect of Secondary Tasks on Drivers' Scanning Behavior

Xianjun Sam Zheng, George W. Mcconkie, Yu-chi Tai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A study was designed to investigate the effect of cognitive task on drivers' visual scanning and driving performance in a single monitor, PC-based driving simulator. Twelve college student drivers' eye movements and driving performance were recorded as they drove in three types of environments (i.e, highway, rural, and urban) under three secondary task condition (none, verbal task and spatial-imagery task). The eye movement results replicate those of Recarte and Nunes (2000), indicating that extra cognitive tasks reduce the time and frequency of such safety-related behavior as checking the speedometer and rear view mirrors. Pupil diameter increases significantly when performing secondary tasks, confirming the usefulness of that measure as an indicator of processing load. The cognitive task also has an effect on driver's performance, such as reducing lane-keeping accuracy, and increasing variation in speed.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1900-1903
JournalProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting
Issue number16
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003


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