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Chip Lange Research Paper

Chip Lange Research Paper

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Published by Komu News

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Published by: Komu News on Jul 27, 2011
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Copyright © 2011 Carl W. Lange IV
The Effects of Grip Strength and Texting on Reaction Times in Driving ScenariosCarl William ³Chip´ Lange IVWestminster CollegeAuthor NoteCarl W. Lange, Department of Psychology, Westminster College.I would like to acknowledge the Psychology department at Westminster College and theEthics in Research Committee (EIRC) for their approval of this study. I would also like to thank Dr. Ted Jaeger for his advice in designing the study and his assistance in analyzing the data. Iwould like to thank Sergeant John Worden and Officer Jason Baillargeon of the Columbia PoliceDepartment¶s Regional Training Facility for allowing me to use their simulator during myexperiment. Finally, I would like to thank the 33 participants who participated in this study.Address correspondence concerning this article to Carl W. Lange, PO Box 88, Cuba,Missouri 65453. E-mail: chipperlange@hotmail.com.
BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF REACTION TIMES Lange 2AbstractThe study researched how those who are distracted and/or go through neuromuscular priming areable to react in different driving scenarios using a driving simulator. The priming effect has beenfound in cognitive research. Other research such as with the Jendrassik maneuver suggests thatthere is a sort of neuromuscular priming effect. Participants in the study were college agestudents who either text frequently or infrequently while driving and emergency service personnel. The hypothesis of the study was that all participants will have slower reaction timeswhen they are distracted by texting due to split attention but that their reaction times will befaster in scenarios where they have a tight grip on the steering wheel as a direct effect of theJendrassik maneuver. There was also a hypothesis that those in the emergency service personnelgroup would be fastest in reaction times and those that were college drivers who textedinfrequently would be slowest. Results from the experiment imply that a loose grip is faster for a behavioral response but that a tight grip is faster for a biological response. Texting was alsofound to be significantly slower than not texting when responding to a stimulus in both behavioral and biological responses. There were no significant results in difference of reactiontimes between the groups of drivers.
distraction, driving simulator, emergency service personnel, Jendrassik maneuver, neuromuscular priming, patellar reflex, reaction time, split attention, texting
BIOPSYCHOLOGY OF REACTION TIMES Lange 3The Effects of Grip Strength and Texting on Reaction Times in Driving ScenariosDistractions while driving have become a lethal problem on many roadways. Data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that 16% of all fatal accidents and 21% of all injury accidents involved distracted driving (Ascone, Lindsey,& Varghese, 2009). Besides the well-known distractions of cell phone use and texting, other distractions include the use of electronic devices, eating, drinking, and conversation with passengers. In a study by the Virginia Technical Transportation Institute (VTTI), all but one of their distracters increased the risk of a crash or near-crash; most notable was a 23.2 foldincreased risk of an accident for people texting while driving a heavy vehicle or truck (Hanowski, 2009). In addition, of the accidents in which the critical reason for the collision wasthe driver, approximately 18% of them involved distraction (Ascone et al., 2009). Texting is thehighest risk task for a driver to perform while driving a vehicle and operating a cell phone(Hanowski, 2009). These research findings suggest that distracted drivers, particularly thosewho are texting, are of particular risk for accidents.Distracted driving is problematic due to the psychological phenomenon known as splitattention. Goldstein (2010) makes note that split attention might be efficient when performingeasy or well-practiced tasks but that it becomes harder to do effectively with increasing task difficulty. When thinking of distractions and split attention, it is not only cell phoneconversations that can degrade driving performance but also the more complex activities of texting or using other electronic devices such as satellite navigation (Goldstein, 2010).There are also some relevant studies on split attention that deal with driving. Oneexperiment involved participants who were distracted by talking on a cell phone and having torespond to red lights as fast as possible (Stayer & Johnston, 2001). This study found that talking

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