Evaluating Emotion Regulation Techniques for Supporting Driving Safety and Performance

Humans operating motor vehicles are often required to engage in decision-making while under substantial cognitive loads imposed by the driving environment itself. Experiencing elevated emotions can influence driver decision-making in a way that increases the risk to the safety of the driver and system performance. Emotion regulation techniques (ERTs) can be used to improve driving safety and performance; however, these techniques can only be effective in an operational driving context if they impose minimal additional cognitive loading on the driver, thus avoiding issues with distraction and the increased workload that could further impact decision making, driving performance, and safety. Additionally, due to motivational factors influencing individual drivers, ERTs that can be activated with greater subtlety (less obvious to the driver) may be more effective than those that are perceived as more obvious and potentially condescending. To determine effective methods that ultimately improve driving safety, two classes of ERTs will be evaluated in this study: those that are classified as “overt”, such as explicitly prompting drivers to perform a cognitive reappraisal of the situation, and those classified as “covert”, such as introducing subtle cues that influence physiological systems, such as synchronizing breathing patterns in a manner that is effective in regulating emotions. Given that affective states can be manipulated with little or no conscious engagement, covert ERTs that minimize cognitive demand, and perhaps even work subconsciously, may be well suited for supporting drivers in an active driving context. The findings of this work can provide design guidance for future driver systems design.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $63272
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Safety through Disruption University Transportation Center (Safe-D)

    Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
    Blacksburg, VA  United States  24060
  • Project Managers:

    Glenn, Eric

  • Performing Organizations:

    Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI)

    400 Harvey Mitchell Parkway South
    Suite 300
    College Station, TX  United States  77845-4375
  • Principal Investigators:

    Ferris, Thomas

  • Start Date: 20210601
  • Expected Completion Date: 20220901
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01773731
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Safety through Disruption University Transportation Center (Safe-D)
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747115
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Jun 7 2021 2:53AM