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Driving with music:Effects on arousal and performance

By Ayca Berfu Unal, Dick de Waard, Kai Epstude and Linda Steg


<p>In the current study, we aimed at exploring the influence of music on driving performance, arousal and mental effort while carrying out a monotonous car-following task in a low-complexity traffic setting. Participants (N = 47) were randomly assigned to loud and moderate volume music groups, and completed one drive in the simulator with music and another drive without music (control condition). In addition, during both of the drives we monitored driving performance and recorded participants' heart rate to track physiological indications of arousal and mental effort. Results revealed that listening to music had no effect on accuracy of car-following, and even had a positive effect on response latencies to speed changes of the lead vehicle and on lateral control. Importantly, arousal was higher in the presence than absence of music irrespective of the volume level, suggesting that loud volume music was not more arousing than moderate volume music. In addition, mental effort, which was inferred from the physiological measurement of heart-rate variability, did not differ in conditions with and without music. These findings indicate that listening to music does not impair performance in a monotonous car-following task, and might even improve some aspects of performance as a result of increased arousal. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.</p>

Topics: Car-following, Music; Arousal; Monotonous driving; Low-complexity traffic; SENSATION SEEKING; TASK; FATIGUE; COMPLEXITY; ATTENTION; VIGILANCE; WORKLOAD; BEHAVIOR; BOREDOM; TEMPO
Year: 2013
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.trf.2013.09.004
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