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Cognitive control by brain-injured car drivers: an exploratory study

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Cognitive control is a key tool for adaptation in dynamic situations. The aim of the study is to assess the relevance of a theoretical framework for cognitive control in dynamic situations, in order to understand brain-injured (BI) car drivers' cognitive impairment. The framework supports a cognitive control multimodality based on the crossing of two orthogonal dimensions: symbolic/subsymbolic; anticipative/reactive control. BI car drivers' behaviour was compared with that of a control group (CTRL) during driving simulator scenarios. Eye movement analysis, among other variables, revealed that BI car drivers made use of a more symbolic and reactive control than did CTRL drivers. CTRL drivers showed a more stable cognitive compromise than BI drivers. The latter became less symbolic and more reactive in the case of difficult scenarios. In addition, BI drivers focused on the main task of trajectory management, with fewer resources devoted to traffic interaction management. Statement of Relevance:An explanation of differences between BI and CTRL drivers in terms of cognitive control requirements, attention and processing speed is put forward. From this, it is possible to derive some implications in terms of driver assistance (e.g. lane keeping or a warning assistance device) and rehabilitation.
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Keywords: anticipative and reactive behaviour; brain-injured car driver; cognitive control; symbolic and subsymbolic processing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Rennes 2, CRPCC, Campus Villejean, Place du Recteur Henri Le Moal, CS 24307, Rennes, France 2: CNRS, IRCCyN, Research Institute in Communications and Cybernetics, Nantes 44321, France

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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