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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2018, Article ID 7547631, 9 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/7547631
Research Article

Can Driving-Simulator Training Enhance Visual Attention, Cognition, and Physical Functioning in Older Adults?

1Institute of Physiology and Anatomy, German Sport University Cologne, Am Sportpark Müngersdorf 6, 50933 Cologne, Germany
2Institute of Training and Computer Science in Sport, German Sport University Cologne, Am Sportpark Müngersdorf 6, 50933 Cologne, Germany

Correspondence should be addressed to Mathias Haeger; ed.nleok-shsd@regeah.m

Received 8 September 2017; Revised 30 November 2017; Accepted 10 January 2018; Published 7 February 2018

Academic Editor: Jean-Francois Grosset

Copyright © 2018 Mathias Haeger et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Virtual reality offers a good possibility for the implementation of real-life tasks in a laboratory-based training or testing scenario. Thus, a computerized training in a driving simulator offers an ecological valid training approach. Visual attention had an influence on driving performance, so we used the reverse approach to test the influence of a driving training on visual attention and executive functions. Thirty-seven healthy older participants (mean age: 71.46 ± 4.09; gender: 17 men and 20 women) took part in our controlled experimental study. We examined transfer effects from a four-week driving training (three times per week) on visual attention, executive function, and motor skill. Effects were analyzed using an analysis of variance with repeated measurements. Therefore, main factors were group and time to show training-related benefits of our intervention. Results revealed improvements for the intervention group in divided visual attention; however, there were benefits neither in the other cognitive domains nor in the additional motor task. Thus, there are no broad training-induced transfer effects from such an ecologically valid training regime. This lack of findings could be addressed to insufficient training intensities or a participant-induced bias following the cancelled randomization process.