3.  Why do new drivers have difficulty driving and talking and
listening to the radio all at the same time
(and why don't more experienced drivers have the same problem)?

When we learn to drive we are gaining procedural knowledge. In other words, we are gaining a skill which can be improved with practice. This new skill of driving begins as an attentive process which requires controlled, directed attention and much cognitive resources to do. Because of the large amount of attention and cognitive resources that beginners need to drive, new drivers find that divided attention tasks such as talking or listening to music are difficult to do while driving. However, with practice, the skill of driving undergoes the process of automatization in which the skill becomes more and more automatic. Automatic skills are those in which the task is performed before consideration is given as to where attention needs to be directed. Thus, driving as an automatic skill requires few cognitive resources because conscious decision becomes unnecessary, and little attention is needed. Experienced drivers can then easily perform divided attention tasks such as talking or listening to music while driving because attention and resources can be freed from the automatic task of driving and split between other tasks with practice.

Prepared by:

Hyonmi Choe
Lisa Johnson
Heather Miller
Cara Statucki

Intro to Cognitive Psychology
(Psyc 20, Section 6)

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