your brain in drive


The unresolved debate over how to monitor older drivers points to not only the difficulty of regulating an important social activity, but of the underappreciated complexity of driving itself. Getting behind the wheel of a car may be an everyday activity, but it’s also the most dangerous and cognitively assaultive thing most of us do, and the only realm in which most people are regularly confronted with split-second, life-or-death decisions. That also makes it a valuable laboratory for the study of human attention, perception, and concentration – an arena where brain science is turning seeming abstractions into hard knowledge about important life skills. “[Studying driving] turns out to be an excellent way to look at the limits of our attentional abilities, especially as we get older and we start to show significant declines,” says David Strayer, a psychology professor at the University of Utah. “It’s one of the most direct ways to be able to look at how attention works, how multi-tasking works.”

more from Drake Bennett at The Boston Globe here.