Young, Mark S. and Stanton, Neville A.
Miles away: determining the extent of secondary task interference on simulated driving
Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science, 8, (3), . (doi:10.1080/14639220601129228).
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There is a seemingly perennial debate in the literature about the relative merits of using a secondary task as a measure of spare attentional capacity. One of the main drawbacks is that it could adversely affect the primary task, or other measures of mental workload. The present experiment therefore addressed an important methodological issue for the dual-task experimental approach-that of secondary task interference. The current experiment recorded data in both single- and dual-task scenarios to ascertain the level of secondary task interference in the Southampton Driving Simulator. The results indicated that a spatial secondary task did not have a detrimental effect on driving performance, although it consistently inflated subjective mental workload ratings. However, the latter effect was so consistent across all conditions that it was not considered to pose a problem. General issues of experimental design, as well as wider implications of the findings for multiple resources theory, are discussed.
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