Crazy Driving Experiment of the 1960s: Studying the "Attentional Demand" of Driving

In the mid 1960s, Prof John W. Senders (that's him under the helmet) and a team of psychologists wanted to study the "attentional demand" of automobile driving.

So, they devised a special helmet with a movable visor that obstructed the driver's vision - in essence making him drive blindfolded and .... then send him down Route 128 outside of Boston!

Check out the crazy video: Link [embedded YouTube] - Thanks Andrew Wirtanen!


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It was not so crazy as you might think. The method is now a standard way of assessing the distracting effects of devices used or installed in cars. As one of the YouTube commenters correctly put it: I was measuring the effect of cell phone usage before they were invented. If you would like a PDF of the report ask for it.

J.W. Senders
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