Driving home for Christmas: Influences of music tempo and inhibition training on simulated driving performance

  • Chris Makkinje


In modern society, a car is among the most used means of transportation. The amount of car accidents that involve young drivers increases every year and poses a serious societal problem in terms of personal, social and economic costs. An explanation for these accidents is given by a biological theory, which states that an immature prefrontal cortex results in riskier behaviour. The socio-environmental theory indicates environmental factors, such as peer pressure and education, as possible determinants of the increased risk in young drivers. The current study combines both theories by searching an effect of music tempo (environment) and response inhibition (biological) on driving performance. The results showed a main effect for impulsivity/inhibition on crash rates. This suggested that impulsive behaviour promoted focused attention, thus leading to a lower crash rate. An interaction effect showed a marginal music tempo effect on lap times, but only when showing impulsive behaviour.