Right-lateralised lane keeping in young and older British drivers

Learmonth, G. , Märker, G., McBride, N., Pellinen, P. and Harvey, M. (2018) Right-lateralised lane keeping in young and older British drivers. PLoS ONE, 13(9), e0203549. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0203549) (PMID:30188952) (PMCID:PMC6126866)

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Young adults demonstrate a small, but consistent, asymmetry of spatial attention favouring the left side of space (“pseudoneglect”) in laboratory-based tests of perception. Conversely, in more naturalistic environments, behavioural errors towards the right side of space are often observed. In the older population, spatial attention asymmetries are generally diminished, or even reversed to favour the right side of space, but much of this evidence has been gained from lab-based and/or psychophysical testing. In this study we assessed whether spatial biases can be elicited during a simulated driving task, and secondly whether these biases also shift with age, in line with standard lab-based measures. Data from 77 right-handed adults with full UK driving licences (i.e. prior experience of left-lane driving) were analysed: 38 young (mean age = 21.53) and 39 older adults (mean age = 70.38). Each participant undertook 3 tests of visuospatial attention: the landmark task, line bisection task, and a simulated lane-keeping task. We found leftward biases in young adults for the landmark and line bisection tasks, indicative of pseudoneglect, and a mean lane position towards the right of centre. In young adults the leftward landmark task biases were negatively correlated with rightward lane-keeping biases, hinting that a common property of the spatial attention networks may have influenced both tasks. As predicted, older adults showed no group-level spatial asymmetry on the landmark nor the line bisection task, but they maintained a mean rightward lane position, similar to young adults. The 3 tasks were not inter-correlated in the older group. These results suggest that spatial biases in older adults may be elicited more effectively in experiments involving complex behaviour rather than abstract, lab-based measures. More broadly, these results confirm that lateral biases of spatial attention are linked to driving behaviour, and this could prove informative in the development of future vehicle safety and driving technology.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Learmonth, Dr Gemma and Harvey, Professor Monika and Maerker, Gesine
Creator Roles:
Learmonth, G.Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal analysis, Methodology, Project administration, Software, Supervision, Visualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review and editing
Märker, G.Data curation, Investigation, Writing – review and editing
Harvey, M.Funding acquisition, Supervision, Writing – original draft, Writing – review and editing
Authors: Learmonth, G., Märker, G., McBride, N., Pellinen, P., and Harvey, M.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Learmonth et al.
First Published:First published in PLoS ONE 13(9): e0203549
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
Data DOI:10.17605/OSF.IO/53C7W

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
3009110Brain Rhythms in Altered Vision after Stroke (BRAVAS)Gemma LearmonthWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)209209/Z/17/ZPsychology