Great Hang Up: "Brain Blink" study reinforces dangers of distracted driving

12:48 PM, Aug 1, 2011   |    comments
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Davis, California -- At the University of California, Davis Center for Mind and Brain, cutting-edge research about "brain blink" is underway, looking at how much the brain can process at once.

UC Davis professor Dr. Steve Luck says, "When you focus on something else your attention blinks. So the problem is not with your eyes taking it in but with your brain processing."

Luck says of particular concern is driving and talking. "All sorts of important info is missed when you focus on something else ... like a cellphone call," he said.

One test involves squares to see how much you notice information and change and with more than four squares, most of us don't recall all the information.

Driving, thinking about the day, listening to the radio and talking on the phone are four things for example you may do while you drive. Luck says it's overload and dangerous.

Data shows while the majority of us think we are good at doing more than one thing at once, only 2 percent of us tested really are.

Luck's studies point to something else that while hands-free driving may be better, it  can still be dangerous.

"Hands-free isn't the problem," Luck said. "It isn't that your hands are busy, but the brain is busy."

 

Melissa Crowley, News 10, Sacramento

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