Driving Skills

The number of older car drivers worldwide is increasing, leading to accidents caused by age-related cognitive decline among drivers. Researchers at Tohoku University have develop a new cognitive training game aim at improving road safety among elderly drivers. The game, Cognitive Training for Car Driving (CTCD), requires only a set-top box and a TV, and for users to play it regularly.

Randomize controlled trial

To investigate the effectiveness of CTCD on driving skills, the research team at the Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, led by Dr. Rui Nouchi and Ryuta Kawashima, conduct a randomize controlled trial study (RCT). Sixty adults between the ages of 65 and 80 were randomly divide into two groups one group play CTCD while the other play other video games (OVG) for six weeks. They play for 20 minutes a day, for at least five days a week.

Car driving skills, cognitive functions and players emotional states were measure before and after the six-week intervention period. The results show that the older adults who play CTCD had improve car driving skills; cognitive functions and felt more invigorate compared to those who play OVG.

These results extend our previous findings that regular use of a simple cognitive training game; so can benefit older adults who drive cars,” said Nouchi. They add that the team now hopes to take the research further to investigate ways that CTCD can reduce road accidents among older drivers.

Attention training exercises

How the game works:Two signs with two numbers are present on the TV screen. Participants are ask to select the sign with the larger number as quickly as possible. The sign on the right is the correct choice. In the dual attention training exercises; so participants are ask to perform two tasks simultaneously.

For the first task, a stimulus (pink musical notes) moves along a circle. Participants are ask to push the button if the stimulus is hidden behind the mark. For the second task, participants are ask to identify an approaching target; also push the button if the target is human.

In the case present in Figure 1C, participants do not push the button because the target is an obstacle. In the speed prediction exercise, a target moves behind a wall from left to right on the TV monitor. Participants are ask to push the button when the target comes out from behind the wall.