Driving Weakens Ability to Comprehend Speech


It is known that talking on a mobile phone while driving reduces an individual’s ability to drive. It has emerged that the opposite is also true. Researchers from the Illinois State University claim driving impairs our ability to comprehend and use language.

Woman Driving

The study was conducted using a driving simulator. The participants worked in pairs. One played a role of a driver, while the other kept a conversation going either sitting next to the driver or using a mobile phone. The study involved 96 participants. They either sat in a driving simulator or drove on a busy highway. Simultaneously, the passengers told the drivers different stories which they were supposed to retell later. Each driver was told four stories during the experiment. At the end of the experiment, the drivers were asked to recall everything they could from what was told to them.

Researchers observed the ability to comprehend and retain conversations was weaker by 20 percent in those who drove in a car compared to those who sat in the simulator. Weaker ability was at the same level for seniors and younger people.

The study report was published in the journal Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

Source of the image: flickr.com/photos/ryanh.