Mind Over Motor Mapping: Driver response to changing vehicle dynamics
Improvements in vehicle safety require understanding of the neural systems that support the com-plex, dynamic task of real-world driving. We used functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)and pupilometry to quantify cortical and physiological responses during a realistic, simulated driv-ing task in which vehicle dynamics were manipulated. Our results elucidate compensatory changesin driver behavior in response to changes in vehicle handling. We also describe associated neuraland physiological responses under different levels of mental workload. The increased cortical acti-vation we observed during the late phase of the experiment may indicate motor learning inprefrontal-parietal networks. Finally, relationships among cortical activation, steering control, andindividual personality traits suggest that individual brain states and traits may be useful in predict-ing a driver's response to changes in vehicle dynamics. Results such as these will be useful forinforming the design of automated safety systems that facilitate safe and supportive driver-carcommunication.