Changes in EEG alpha power during simulated driving: a demonstration


Schier, Mark A.


The aim was to assess the suitability of EEG-based techniques to recording activity during a driving simulation task. To achieve this, an inexpensive driving simulator (comprising a steering wheel, pedals and gear shift) were made to function with a personal computer running ‘Need for Speed’ simulation software. Simulators of this type are both inexpensive and relatively realistic. The EEG was recorded from four sites on the scalp (P3, P4, F3, F4) for two laps during the driving task, and during a replay task. The driving task involved participants driving a vehicle on a simulated undulating, sealed surface circuit, without any other vehicles present. Two men were participants in this experiment. Power spectra were computed and integrated to produce values of relative alpha activity for each channel and recording epoch, a time-series of alpha activity during each recorded segment. Overall values for alpha activity indicated an increase for replay compared to driving, and also driving on lap 5 compared to driving on lap 2. The EEG changes are consistent with the notion of overall reduction of attention during the later laps and the replay task and indicate the potential of such measures for complex motor behaviour.

Publication year


Publication type

Journal article


International Journal of Psychophysiology, Vol. 37, no. 2 (Aug 2000), pp. 155-162






Copyright © 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.