Age Effects on Drivers’ Physiological Response to Workload Conference Paper uri icon


  • Copyright 2017 by Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Driving a vehicle requires performing a combination of cognitive, visual, and manual tasks, which depend on the sensory and cognitive resources allocated to the task. Physiological measures, such as heart rate measures, can be used to objectively detect when driving task demands approach and exceed a driver's available resources, at which point there are also performance effects. As humans gain task experience and automatize aspects of it, fewer resources are demanded, which is reflected in physiological measures. However, physiological response also changes with age. This study sought to explore physiological response to different imposed workloads as a function of age and task experience. Results indicate that older drivers showed significantly increased low frequency and decreased high frequency spectral components of heart rate variability under secondary task loads. These findings raise new questions of how age should be considered when using physiological indicators to infer cognitive loading.

author list (cited authors)

  • Rodriguez-Paras, C., Susindar, S., Lee, S., & Ferris, T. K.

citation count

  • 1

publication date

  • September 2017