Poster Session
Issue Date: July 2015
Published Online: July 01, 2015
Updated: April 30, 2020
Experience, Executive Functioning, and the Environment: An Analysis of Factors That Affect Scanning Ability
Author Affiliations
  • East Carolina University
  • East Carolina University
  • East Carolina University
Article Information
Community Mobility and Driving / Assessment/Measurement
Poster Session   |   July 01, 2015
Experience, Executive Functioning, and the Environment: An Analysis of Factors That Affect Scanning Ability
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911500190.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911500190.

Date Presented 4/18/2015

Scanning the environment is a critical safe driving skill. In this poster session, we provide research evidence for a new computer-based assessment used to screen an individual’s scanning ability. Results include differentiating scores for young drivers with and without executive dysfunction.

SIGNIFICANCE: Driving as a means of community mobility enables individuals to participate in meaningful and needed occupations. An inability to drive may result in reduced opportunities to engage in those occupations, creating a need to address this valued instrumental activity of daily living (IADL). Scanning the environment is a critical safe driving skill and is likely affected by factors including driving experience and executive functioning. In this research, we examine the use of the computer-based Expert Search and Scanning Skills (ES3) in determining relationships between scanning and driver characteristics.
INNOVATION: There is a lack of evidence-based tools that can be used to screen for scanning deficits in general practice. The ES3 may provide a cost-effective means of screening for these deficits. ES3 data are available in graphic format, as interval level data, and as video feedback that displays which key targets were missed. These features could help identify problematic areas and guide intervention.
APPROACH: Research questions included the following: Does the evidence support the ES3 as an effective screening tool for scanning deficits? Does the ES3 differentiate between clients with different driving experience levels or deficits in executive functioning?
Driving skill impairments, including scanning deficits, increase the risk of being involved in a collision. This increased risk creates a need and ethical obligation for occupational therapists to use tools and interventions to address the specific deficits and needs of their clients. Any tool used should be based on evidence of its efficacy, validity, reliability, and accessibility. In this study, we examine the utility and validity of a new tool.
METHOD: In this is an exploratory study, we used data from an earlier study with experienced drivers and novice drivers. The goal was to collect data on healthy novice and experienced drivers (N = 100) and individuals with problems with executive functioning, which affect driving abilities. These included teens with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), with a range of experience from 0 to 3 yr (N = 40).
The ES3 is portable and is administered in quiet and familiar environments (e.g., classrooms). Participants were recruited through community contacts. Basic demographic questions were analyzed to classify the participants into one of three groups: novice drivers (0 to 1 yr of driving experience), experienced drivers, and drivers with conditions that may affect driving or scanning ability.
The ES3 is a computerized program that automatically records data regarding scanning performance. The ES3 provides interval level data that was used in a 2 (novice, experienced) × 2 (neurologically typical, impaired executive functioning) factorial design to examine relationships and evidence for validity for the ES3.
RESULTS: Preliminary evidence with healthy older adults shows that they tend to focus directly ahead of the vehicle (F = 9.5, p < .003), are less aware of priority targets for driving safety (F = 17.6, p < .001), and spend more time fixating on particular targets compared with drivers with 1 to 3 yr of driving experience (F = 10.7, p < .001). Initial data show differences between individuals with and without dysfunction, although experience in driving appears to make a more significant difference in scores.
CONCLUSION: The preliminary data provide promising evidence that the ES3 can be used to distinguish between the scanning abilities of groups.