An On-Road Evaluation of the Impact of Explicit and Implicit Cognitive Training Protocols on Safety-Related Senior Driver Behaviors

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National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence


This study presents a long-term examination of the effects of two types of perceptual-cognitive brain training programs on senior driver behavior and on-road driving performance. Seniors over the age of 69 engaged in either a Toyota-designed in-vehicle training program based on implicit learning principles or a commercially available computer-based training program developed by Posit Science®. Another group served as a control group and received no training; total enrollment was 55 participants. Participants completed a series of four experimental sessions: (1) baseline pre-training, (2) immediate post-training, (3) 6–9 months post-training, and (4) 12–16 months post-training. Experimental metrics taken at each session included a laboratory metrics portion, a target-detection performance on a closed-road course, and a public-road portion examining vehicle control and glance behavior. These sessions were designed to examine not only whether training provided immediate benefit to senior drivers, but also whether any improvements persisted after training or precluded decrements in performance found in untrained individuals. The results found few statistically significant improvements in performance with either type of training. However, there were non-significant trends toward improved glance behavior at risky intersections for participants in the Car Training group, suggesting that this might be a valuable target of future research using experimental designs with increased statistical power. In addition, several tests of training improvements examined by individual differences suggested that drivers with particular deficits on physical and cognitive metrics could benefit differentially from this type of training, leading to future research questions on appropriate targeting and the potential benefits of refresher training.



cognitive training, senior mobility, naturalistic driving studies