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Medicina dello Sport 2011 December;64(4):409-22


language: English, Italian

Oculomotor training and driving performance

Guidetti G. 1, Rigo S. 2, Livio S. 3, Zasa M. 4, 5

1 Service of Audiovestibology, Azienda USL Modena, Ramazzini Hospital, Carpi, Modena, Italy 2 ENT Department, Azienda ASS n° 1 Trieste, Maggiore Hospital, Trieste, Italy 3 Professional driver 4 Associazione Medico Sportiva FMSI di Parma, Parma, Italy 5 Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, University of Parma, Parma, Italy


Aim. While driving it is very important to identify objects in the scene and to plan eyes movements able to maintain the fixation on the right targets. We verified if a new specific oculomotor training is able to improve both the drivers’ performances and their safety.
Methods. Twenty non-professional drivers were divided into two groups and were evaluated in a safe driving circuit. Group 1 was evaluated in two different laps of the track, before and after a driving course based on oculomotor control, focused on saccadic movements. Group 2 was evaluated in two different laps of the track, without having undergone any course. Eye movements were recorded by Tobii glasses eye tracker.
Results. Drivers from group 1 reduced both the time per lap and the number of saccadic movements more consistently than drivers from group 2. This study showed that an adequate training is able to reduce the number of saccades with cognitive control and to improve driving performance compared to the better knowledge of the route obtained by the simple repetition of laps on the same circuit.
Conclusion. This multidisciplinary course based on the control of saccadic movements seems to facilitate predictive and memory guided saccades and to limit the voluntary saccadic exploration. In this way the cognitive component of contextual cueing is facilitated. Visual attention can be guided by acquired knowledge about spatial variables; thus, attention decides to select or ignore specific visual targets.

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