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Active and passive fatigue in simulated driving: discriminating styles of workload regulation and their safety impacts.

Saxby DJ; Matthews G; Warm JS; Hitchcock EM; Neubauer C
J Exp Psychol Appl 2013 Dec; 19(4):287-300
Despite the known dangers of driver fatigue, it is a difficult construct to study empirically. Different forms of task-induced fatigue may differ in their effects on driver performance and safety. Desmond and Hancock (2001) defined active and passive fatigue states that reflect different styles of workload regulation. In 2 driving simulator studies we investigated the multidimensional subjective states and safety outcomes associated with active and passive fatigue. Wind gusts were used to induce active fatigue, and full vehicle automation to induce passive fatigue. Drive duration was independently manipulated to track the development of fatigue states over time. Participants were undergraduate students. Study 1 (N = 108) focused on subjective response and associated cognitive stress processes, while Study 2 (N = 168) tested fatigue effects on vehicle control and alertness. In both studies the 2 fatigue manipulations produced different patterns of subjective response reflecting different styles of workload regulation, appraisal, and coping. Active fatigue was associated with distress, overload, and heightened coping efforts, whereas passive fatigue corresponded to large-magnitude declines in task engagement, cognitive underload, and reduced challenge appraisal. Study 2 showed that only passive fatigue reduced alertness, operationalized as speed of braking and steering responses to an emergency event. Passive fatigue also increased crash probability, but did not affect a measure of vehicle control. Findings support theories that see fatigue as an outcome of strategies for managing workload. The distinction between active and passive fatigue is important for assessment of fatigue and for evaluating automated driving systems which may induce dangerous levels of passive fatigue.
Psychological-fatigue; Psychological-testing; Fatigue; Fatigue-properties; Drivers; Simulation-methods; Task-performance; Safety-research; Mental-fatigue; Automation; Motor-vehicles; Humans; Mental-stress; Physical-reactions; Psychological-responses; Coping-behavior; Behavior; Mental-processes; Author Keywords: fatigue; automation; driving scenarios; simulated driving; performance
Gerald Matthews, ACTIVE Lab at the Institute for Simulation and Training, University of Central Florida, 3100 Technology Pkwy., Orlando, FL 32826
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Journal Article
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NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities
Source Name
Journal of Experimental Psychology. Applied
Page last reviewed: April 1, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division