Looking at the brains of bad drivers
A recent study found that the part of the brain associated with empathy and compassion is less active in bad drivers.
Is a blatant disregard for safety the result of a cognitive malfunction? According to the Association for Psychological Science, the Czech Republic conducted a study in order to better understand why some people follow the rules of the road and others don’t.
Researchers showed participants a series of video clips showing the consequences of dangerous driving behaviors like speeding and drunk driving while monitoring their brain activity using fMRI. About half the participants had no record of traffic violations, and the other half had at least one traffic safety violation, such as speeding or driving while intoxicated, on their records. It turns out that those viewers with a clean driving record and those with a history of at least one traffic violation reacted very differently to the videos.
The superior temporal sulcus (STS) is the portion of the brain responsible for social information, empathy, compassion, and interpersonal communication. The STS was found to be significantly less active in the “bad” drivers.
After watching the videos, the participants were asked to describe what was going on in the clips, then their responses were coded for language indicative of empathy. Those whose responses revealed empathy and an attention to the consequences of dangerous actions also showed more STS brain activity.
Overall, the study indicated that people with a history of dangerous driving behavior displayed less STS activity than the people with a record of safe driving.
As car accident lawyers, this makes sense to us. There is no question that drivers who engage in activities like speeding and driving drunk are demonstrating a total disregard not only for their own safety but also for how their actions affect other people. The study is also a good reminder that driving responsibly is about more than just personal safety; the decisions we make on the road can have devastating consequences for everyone around us.
If you have been injured in an accident, the driver at fault should be held responsible. The experienced car and truck accident lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys will answer your questions and help you to determine the next steps to take. Our initial consultation with you is free, so contact us today to arrange an evaluation of your case. We can be reached at 855-866-5529.
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