Forecasting negative effects of monotony and sensation seeking on performance during a vigilance task
Larue, Gregoire, Rakotonirainy, Andry, & Pettitt, Anthony N. (2010) Forecasting negative effects of monotony and sensation seeking on performance during a vigilance task. Journal of the Australasian College of Road Safety, 21(4), pp. 42-48.
The driving task requires sustained attention during prolonged periods, and can be performed in highly predictable or repetitive environments. Such conditions could create hypovigilance and impair performance towards critical events. Identifying such impairment in monotonous conditions has been a major subject of research, but no research to date has attempted to predict it in real-time. This pilot study aims to show that performance decrements due to monotonous tasks can be predicted through mathematical modelling taking into account sensation seeking levels. A short vigilance task sensitive to short periods of lapses of vigilance called Sustained Attention to Response Task is used to assess participants‟ performance. The framework for prediction developed on this task could be extended to a monotonous driving task. A Hidden Markov Model (HMM) is proposed to predict participants‟ lapses in alertness. Driver‟s vigilance evolution is modelled as a hidden state and is correlated to a surrogate measure: the participant‟s reactions time. This experiment shows that the monotony of the task can lead to an important decline in performance in less than five minutes. This impairment can be predicted four minutes in advance with an 86% accuracy using HMMs. This experiment showed that mathematical models such as HMM can efficiently predict hypovigilance through surrogate measures. The presented model could result in the development of an in-vehicle device that detects driver hypovigilance in advance and warn the driver accordingly, thus offering the potential to enhance road safety and prevent road crashes.
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