Parieto-occipital alpha power indexes distraction during simulated car driving
The two major causes of fatal car accidents are distraction of visual attention and lapses in vigilance. Psychophysiological research on real-time classification of a driver's floating brain state, aims at enabling preventive feedback. While various vigilance monitors have been suggested, tracking attention non-invasively and with high temporal resolution is still an open problem. Traditionally, modulation of the parieto-occipital alpha band (~ 10 Hz) has been taken as an index of fluctuations in vigilance. Recently, parieto-occipital alpha power was found to positively correlate with increasing task demand and externally and internally directed attention, which might reflect functional inhibition of irrelevant brain areas during cognitive processing. Here, we characterize EEG signatures of competition for attentional resources arising when a primary visual driving task is challenged by a secondary auditory task.