The effects of an interactive cognitive task (ICT) in suppressing fatigue symptoms in driving Academic Article uri icon


  • Background Prolonged drive on inter-urban, monotonous roads has the potential of causing a decrease in the general level of arousal leading to a state of underload and fatigue. This study examines the effectiveness of an interactive cognitive task (ICT) in delaying fatigue symptoms induced by underload conditions. The ICT is an auditory-motor task which is based on the basic principles of a knowledge game known as “Trivia”. Method Ten participants took part in two experimental sessions of 140 min drive in a fixed-base simulator. In a within-subject counterbalanced design one session consisted of driving without ICT and the other included ICT operation. In the ICT session the game was activated after 60 min of driving. Results When activated, the ICT increased physiological indicators of arousal, increased subjective feelings of alertness, and improved driving performance. The physiological and driving performance measures revealed that the ICT activation had an immediate but localized influence on arousal. Post-drive questionnaires showed that in the ICT condition, the participants’ level of motivation increased and their feelings of sleepiness decreased. Conclusions Engaging in cognitive tasks can counteract the effects of underload and increases driving safety as long as they are active. However, additional research is necessary to determine the effects of long term use.

publication date

  • January 1, 2009