Effect of Age on Learning to Drive a Virtual Coal Mine Shuttle Car
Christine M. Zupanc1, *, Robin Burgess-Limerick2, Guy Wallis1
Identifiers and Pagination:Year: 2011
First Page: 112
Last Page: 124
Publisher Id: TOERGJ-4-112
Article History:Received Date: 16/12/2010
Revision Received Date: 19/05/2011
Acceptance Date: 19/05/2011
Electronic publication date: 27/8/2011
Collection year: 2011
open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Many control devices produce movements that can be described as compatible, that is, movement of the control in one direction results in a congruent movement in the system. However, not all devices adhere to this direct relationship between control movement and system response. This study investigates age and practice effects on error and reaction times for a real-world vehicle steering system in which steering is not consistently compatible. A virtual reality simulation analogous to an underground coal mine shuttle car was used to collect short term (experiment 1) and longer term (experiment 2) practice where trials alternate between compatible and incompatible, and then changed to consistently compatible. Fifteen young and 15 older male adults participated in experiment 1, and 7 young and 7 older male adults participated in experiment 2. Younger adults made fewer errors in incompatible trials than older adults in experiment 1. Error rate increased for both groups when the trials changed to consistently compatible. No differences in reaction time were found. With more practice, no differences in error rate were found between the groups (experiment 2). Both errors and reaction time increased when the the trials changed to consistently compatible. This research suggests that performance differences between male adults close to retirement age and younger male adults may dissipate after practice. Performance decrements were found when the control-response relationship changed from alternating compatibility to consistently compatible, therefore, care must be taken in redesigning incompatible controls when operators may have achieved a high level of expertise.