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Investigating Established EEG Parameter During Real-World Driving

Protzak, Janna; Gramann, Klaus

In real life, behavior is influenced by dynamically changing contextual factors and is rarely limited to simple tasks and binary choices. For a meaningful interpretation of brain dynamics underlying more natural cognitive processing in active humans, ecologically valid test scenarios are essential. To understand whether brain dynamics in restricted artificial lab settings reflect the neural activity in complex natural environments, we systematically tested the auditory event-related P300 in both settings. We developed an integrative approach comprising an initial P300-study in a highly controlled laboratory set-up and a subsequent validation within a realistic driving scenario. Using a simulated dialog with a speech-based input system, increased P300 amplitudes reflected processing of infrequent and incorrect auditory feedback events in both the laboratory setting and the real world setup. Environmental noise and movement-related activity in the car driving scenario led to higher data rejection rates but revealed comparable theta and alpha frequency band pattern. Our results demonstrate the possibility to investigate cognitive functions like context updating in highly artifact prone driving scenarios and encourage the consideration of more realistic task settings in prospective brain imaging approaches.
Published in: Frontiers in Psychology, 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02289, Frontiers