The Impact of Emotions and Predominant Emotion Regulation Technique on Driving Performance

Hancock, G.M., Hancock, P.A., & Janelle, C.M. (2012). The impact of emotions and predominant emotion regulation technique on driving performance. Work: Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation, 41, 5882-5885.

Emotion-provoking stimuli about on modern roadways. Driving measures, of both longitudinal and lateral control of the vehicle, have been shown to vary based on affective influences. Research, however, has yet to address how drivers’ featured a dual-task protocol involving simulated driving together with processing of emotionally-valenced images with a focus on different Predominant Emotion Regulation Techniques (PERT): one adaptive strategy (task-focused coping) and one maladaptive style (emotion-focused coping). Dependent measures included mean driving speed and number of lane excursions. Results indicated that pleasant images degraded longitudinal control to the greatest extent, while unpleasant images produced the greatest detriment in lateral control. Additionally, individuals’ PERT played a major interactive role in the drivers’ longitudinal control leading task-focused females and emotion-focused males to adhere more closely to the speed limit; yet, it did not affect their lateral control. Results hold important potential implications for the amount or variety of training necessary for driver licensure to promote and sustain safe vehicle control.

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