Impulsivity and Aggression in Young Drivers Assessed in Short Driving Simulator Scenarios
Keywords: Young Drivers
Interactions between gender, impulsivity, and driving anger, and young people’s driving behaviour were assessed in an immersive driving simulator. Personality measures included the Impulsivity Questionnaire, the Driving Anger Scale, and the Driving Anger Expression Scale. Five short driving scenarios were used: T-junction gap acceptance, following distance, approaching amber traffic lights, merging following traffic lights, and overtaking. Two forms of each scenario were created: a provocative (“hot”), and a matched neutral (“cool”) form. For example, in merging lanes following a traffic light scenario, in the hot form, a car in the other lane would “race” the participant’s vehicle to the merge point; in the cool form, the other vehicle would merge in a more orderly fashion. Dependent variables comprised difference scores derived from the vehicle dynamics data between the hot and cool driving scenarios. From an initial screen of 278 participants 52 (55% female; age M = 19.13 years) were selected, half of whom had high impulsivity and anger scores, while the other half had low scores on both these measures. Results included main effects for Gender, and Impulsivity, and a Gender, Impulsivity, and Driving Anger 3-way interaction. Overall, young impulsive males had a higher tendency for risky driving than females did. However, high impulsivity, low driving anger males exhibited risky driving behaviour differently, suggesting the influence of other motivational factors, such as venturesomeness.