Don’t cry while you’re driving: Sad driving is as bad as angry driving

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While driving research on affect has mostly focused on anger and road rage, there has been little empirical research on other affective states. Affect researchers widely acknowledge the “sadder but wiser” phenomenon, but there is little evidence if this tendency can be applied to the driving environment as well. The objective of the present study is to empirically test whether sadness enhances driving performance as the sadder but wiser notion might predict or sadness impairs driving performance as its negative valence or low arousal dimension might predict. The study consists of a simulated driving experiment with induced anger, sadness, and neutral affect to examine how anger and sadness influence driving-related risk perception, driving performance, and perceived workload. Sixty-one young drivers drove under three different road conditions with either induced anger, sadness, or neutral affect conditions. After affect induction, there was no difference in subjective risk perception across three affect conditions. However, participants in both affect conditions showed significantly more errors and took longer driving time than those in the neutral condition. Only participants with induced anger reported significantly higher physical workload and frustration than participants with neutral affect. Results are discussed in terms of affect mechanisms, design directions for the in-vehicle affect mitigation system, and limitations of the study.

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Rights managed by Taylor & Francis. Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1080/10447318.2016.1198524

Publication Title

International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction