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Brain activation during fast driving in a driving simulator: the role of the lateral prefrontal cortex


Jäncke, Lutz; Brunner, B; Esslen, M (2008). Brain activation during fast driving in a driving simulator: the role of the lateral prefrontal cortex. NeuroReport, 19(11):1127-1130.

Abstract

Little is currently known about the neural underpinnings of the cognitive control of driving behavior in realistic situations and of the driver's speeding behavior in particular. In this study, participants drove in realistic scenarios presented in a high-end driving simulator. Scalp-recorded EEG oscillations in the alpha-band (8-13 Hz) with a 30-electrode montage were recorded while the participants drove under different conditions: (i) excessively fast (Fast), (ii) in a controlled manner at a safe speed (Correct), and (iii) impatiently in the context of testing traffic conditions (Impatient). Intracerebral sources of alpha-band activation were estimated using low resolution electrical tomography. Given that previous studies have shown a strong negative correlation between the Bold response in the frontal cortex and the alpha-band power, we used alpha-band-related activity as an estimation of frontal activation. Statistical analysis revealed more alpha-band-related activity (i.e. less neuronal activation) in the right lateral prefrontal cortex, including the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, during fast driving. Those participants who speeded most and exhibited greater risk-taking behavior demonstrated stronger alpha-related activity (i.e. less neuronal activation) in the left anterior lateral prefrontal cortex. These findings are discussed in the context of current theories about the role of the lateral prefrontal cortex in controlling risk-taking behavior, task switching, and multitasking.

Little is currently known about the neural underpinnings of the cognitive control of driving behavior in realistic situations and of the driver's speeding behavior in particular. In this study, participants drove in realistic scenarios presented in a high-end driving simulator. Scalp-recorded EEG oscillations in the alpha-band (8-13 Hz) with a 30-electrode montage were recorded while the participants drove under different conditions: (i) excessively fast (Fast), (ii) in a controlled manner at a safe speed (Correct), and (iii) impatiently in the context of testing traffic conditions (Impatient). Intracerebral sources of alpha-band activation were estimated using low resolution electrical tomography. Given that previous studies have shown a strong negative correlation between the Bold response in the frontal cortex and the alpha-band power, we used alpha-band-related activity as an estimation of frontal activation. Statistical analysis revealed more alpha-band-related activity (i.e. less neuronal activation) in the right lateral prefrontal cortex, including the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, during fast driving. Those participants who speeded most and exhibited greater risk-taking behavior demonstrated stronger alpha-related activity (i.e. less neuronal activation) in the left anterior lateral prefrontal cortex. These findings are discussed in the context of current theories about the role of the lateral prefrontal cortex in controlling risk-taking behavior, task switching, and multitasking.

Citations

18 citations in Web of Science®
20 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:07 Nov 2008 10:11
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:32
Publisher:Lippincott Wiliams & Wilkins
ISSN:0959-4965
Publisher DOI:10.1097/WNR.0b013e3283056521

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