The Influence of Workload on Attention during the Driving Task

Alexandra Raluca Jilavu, Grigore Havârneanu


This experiment analyses the effect that mental and visual workload have on the driver. The aim of this experiment is to induce both mental and visual workload to the participants, while they are solving an attention test on the computer; the difficulty has been manipulated by combining two types of items. Thirty students at different colleges in Iaşi participated in this study. Their ages varied between 22 and 24 years old, they were all males and had little experience as drivers. Each participant had to go through all the experimental conditions: without workload, mental workload and visual workload. The results indicate that mental workload mitigates task performance at the attention test, while visual workload doesn‘t. These results reinforce those studies which suggest that there are no differences between hand-held cell phones and hands-free phones, concerning mental workload. Another finding is that mental workload is much more dangerous than visual workload, because it can lead to the appearance of the ‗looked, but failed to see‘ phenomenon.

mental workload; visual workload; attention test

Grigore Havârneanu – Al. I. Cuza University, Iaşi, Romania, E-mail:

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