Welcome to the website of the Cognitive Aging and Driving Laboratory! The lab is located in the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa, and is directed by Dr. Sylvain Gagnon.

Lab Philosophy

Our lab philosophy is simple: how can we contribute to understand the changes that come with age? As scientists, we have the fantastic opportunity to study an outstanding natural phenomenon that all living entities will go through. Why we age and how old age manifests itself are questions that cause inquiry among hundreds if not thousands of laboratories around the world. Our lab does its share by investigating how old age impacts cognition, from both a fundamental and an applied perspective. The challenge is enormous. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Several factors (social, cultural, economical, biological, etc.) are likely to influence how one will age; and
  2. Cognitive changes associated with old age can range from mild to very dramatic (e.g., in persons suffering from dementia).

Having the opportunity to study older adults is truly unique, and studying why and how we age is certainly one of the most fascinating topics in psychology and its related fields of research.

None of this would be possible without our wonderful volunteers, who dedicate their time to participate in our studies. They come to the lab with a true desire to take part in our scientific endeavors. Not only do they give their best, they also love to share their experiences with the graduate students and the research staff. It is a reciprocal learning experience.

With that spirit in mind, our lab promotes hard work in an enjoyable environment, paired with a profound desire to conduct the best possible research!

Our Simulators

Welcome to our lab space! The lab houses seven computers and two driving simulator, as well as an eye-tracking system (Eye Link II).

driving simulator

Above is a picture of our STISIM Drive simulator. It is a product developed by System's Technology, Inc. (STI) and is installed on three Dell Dimension 9200 computers using Windows XP SP2. The driving simulation is projected via three projectors at 30 frames per second onto three white boards which are 75cm x 90cm large and provided a field of view of a compressed 180 degrees. Participants sit in a seat 144cm away from the screen. They operate the simulator using brake and throttle pedals, as well as a steering wheel equipped with left and right indicators. A button on the steering wheel can be pressed to check the blind spots.

DriveSim Simulator

Above is a picture of our DriveSim6 simulator. It is a product developed by York Computer Technologies, Inc. The driving simulation appears on three computer screens which are 71cm x 40 cm large, placed 81cm away from the driver.

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