Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



On a per-mile driven basis, older adults are at increased risk of being involved in an automobile accident. The development and implementation of driving assessment tools is necessary to inform decisions about driving reduction and cessation. Driving simulators are one method of assessing driving performance and safety, however many simulators are cost-prohibitive for most researchers and clinicians. Additionally, while driving performance has been previously explored with respect to clinical populations (e.g., Alzheimer’s Disease), less work has evaluated this topic in a cognitively healthy sample. The present study sought to determine whether a novel, cost-effective driving simulator (Assetto Corsa (AC)) might be useful in the evaluation of driving performance in a sample of cognitively healthy older adults. A total of 53 participants completed a battery of paper-and-pencil and computerized cognitive performance measures and self-reports regarding their driving safety and behaviors, and a subset of participants (n = 35) completed the driving simulator task. Hierarchical regressions revealed that paper-and-pencil measures of simple attention and executive functioning and a computerized measure of processing speed were associated with aspects of driving simulator performance. Pearson correlation coefficients revealed that lower self-rated driving was associated with slower completion of the simulator task, and decrements in several cognitive domains were associated with greater self-reported difficulty driving in various conditions, greater aberrant driving behaviors, and higher likelihood of having legal difficulties as a result of driving (e.g., traffic tickets). Implications for future work are discussed.



Committee Chair

Calamia, Matthew