Slower Memory Development in Adolescents Associated With Motor Vehicle Crashes

A person ’s working memory—which helps one manage complex tasks and maintain attention when faced with distractions—is believed to be a critical element of safe driving. Astudy inJAMA Network Open has found that adolescents who were involved in a motor vehicle accident had slower development of their working memory than adolescents who were not involved in a crash.“Monitoring WM [working memory] development across adolescence as part of routine assessment could help to identify at-risk drivers, as well as opportunities for intervention,” wrote Elizabeth A. Walshe, Ph.D., of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and colleague s. “Attention and driving-skill deficits due to insufficient [working memory] may be one of the most modifiable risk factors—via experience and skill training.”Walshe and colleagues analyzed data from a longitudinal study of 118 youth in Philadelphia, who received regular assessments of working memory, sensation seeking, substance dependence, and more between the ages of 11 and 20. A follow-up survey on driving experience identified 84 participants who had a driver ’s license and were included in the analysis, and 25 of these drivers reported they had been involved in at least one crash.All 118 youth performed better on working memory tasks as they grew older, as reflected in their scores rising over time. Additional analysis revealed that working memory gains appeared to...
Source: Psychiatr News - Category: Psychiatry Tags: adolescents car crashes development driving Elizabeth Walshe impulsivity IQ JAMA Network Open working memory Source Type: research

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