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Risk-taking behaviors and prefrontal cortex activity of male adolescents in the presence of peer passengers during simulated driving : a functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) study.
  • Published Date:
    2015-09-01
  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF-1.69 MB]


Details:
  • Publication/ Report Number:
    ATLAS-2015-05
  • Resource Type:
  • Geographical Coverage:
  • Format:
  • Abstract:
    Crash statistics show that adolescent drivers are more likely to be involved in motor-vehicle crashes than adults and that the

    presence of peer passengers pose an additional risk factor for crashes. Experimental and observational studies show that risky

    driving behaviors of male teenagers increase in the presence of male peer passengers. There could be several mechanisms of the

    influence of peer passengers on teen drivers, however it is evident that the male teenage driver with a male peer passenger

    makes riskier decisions than when driving alone, when driving with an adult, or when compared with an adult driver. It has been

    posited that the developing teenage brain’s activity is different from that of adults during decision making, especially in regions

    associated with impulse control, response inhibition, and risk taking. In order to study risk-taking behavior in simulated driving by

    male teenagers in the presence of male peer passengers, we leveraged an innovative experimental approach to investigate the

    brain activity of male teenage and adult drivers while driving alone and in the presence of peer passengers. This study used

    functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) technology, a noninvasive optical brain-imaging method that allows in vivo

    measurements of oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin in cortical tissue, to study regions in the prefrontal cortex of drivers

    performing an ecologically valid driving-simulation task. Driving-related risk-taking behaviors were simultaneously measured. In

    addition, participants undertook a well-validated computerized measure of risk taking (Balloon Analogue Risk Task) as an

    additional assessment of risk-taking behavior. The results indicate that for certain risky-driving scenarios, adult participants

    showed increased activation in regions of the left and right medial prefrontal cortex when driving with a passenger as compared

    with driving alone, whereas these activations were not evident in teenaged drivers in similar situations.

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