Friday, January 28, 2011

Why older people are less astute drivers

I am not sure that they are less ‘astute’ but there is no doubt that older people do have problems driving, especially at night.

This academic research has just been released explaining what is going on in the older head.

It would seem that the problem is not necessarily a result of a reduced ability to perceive moving objects, as one might suspect, but a heightened awareness of the backdrop against which these objects move. This creates too much information to be processed – a bit like when my old Windows PC would freeze (I am sure that is an analogy too far).

A research team working at the Harvard Medical School has isolated the cause of this phenomenon, and the surprising results could not only help train elderly people to be better drivers, but they could also help psychiatrists better understand abnormal brain processes in psychological conditions like depression and schizophrenia.

The paper detailing the research will be published in the Journal of Neuroscience at the end of January. Should be worth reading. Dick Stroud

1 comment:

Hein said...

Interesting article Dick. It reminded me of some research published by SAGA a little while ago and highlights why older people prefer not to drive at night:
Contrary to popular myths the older generation do not necessarily cause more road accidents, they just begin to drive less often.

Hein Kuiper
Heinsight International Ltd