Biofeedback Arrests Sympathetic and Behavioral Effects in Distracted Driving Academic Article uri icon


  • OAPA Operating machinery while distracted is a dangerous behavior, often habitual, which is the source of accidents. Distracted driving in particular has assumed the form of an epidemic, fueled by the ubiquity of smartphone usage and the tendency to slip into absent-mindedness in tedious commutes. Here we show that a method capable of detecting and communicating overarousal trends associated with the onset of distractions, can pull the driver out of a downward psychophysiological spiral. The method is reliable, unobtrusive, and subtle in its intervention. Arousal estimation is performed by a conservative statistical filter acting upon the driver's perinasal perspiration signal, as this is continuously extracted from a thermal imaging feed. Overarousal notices are communicated via a visual indicator placed in the driver's peripheral vision. Using this method, we conducted a parallel group experiment, where a control $CL (n=23)$ and a biofeedback $BF (n=24)$ cohort were distracted mentally and physically while driving, with only the biofeedback group receiving the benefit of overarousal notification. Results show that heeding biofeedback notices, cuts dramatically the time BF subjects are engaged in distractions with respect to the control group, significantly reducing their arousal levels and improving their driving behaviors in the context of a typical commute.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 12.85

author list (cited authors)

  • Pavlidis, I., Khatri, A., Buddharaju, P., Manser, M., Wunderlich, R., Akleman, E., & Tsiamyrtzis, P.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Pavlidis, Ioannis||Khatri, Ashik||Buddharaju, Pradeep||Manser, Michael||Wunderlich, Robert||Akleman, Ergun||Tsiamyrtzis, Panagiotis

publication date

  • April 2021