Dr. Melanie Karthaus

Scientific Staff

Phone: +49 / 231 1084 291
Email: karthaus@Ifado.de

Curriculum Vitae:

  • since 2008 Research fellow at the IfADo
  • 2008 PhD degree (Dr. rer. nat) at the University of Trier
  • 2004-2007 Research fellow and PhD student in the Department for Clinical Physiology at the Institute of Psychobiology at the University of Trier
  • 2004 Master degree in psychology (Dipl.-Psych.)
  • 1997-2004 Studies of psychology at the University of Trier

Research topics:

  • Many sensory, cognitive and motor functions change across the lifetime. Especially higher-order cognitive functions (so called executive functions) underlie age-related changes. These executive functions, including the fast switching between different actions and the inhibition of irrelevant information and inappropriate responses, are highly relevant for many daily life actions. One prominent example for a complex task which requires several executive functions is driving. The empirical evidence about age-related changes of executive functions in the context of driving is still inconsistent. Additionally it is still unknown, why there are large interindividual differences in driving performance with increasing age. Further research is needed to examine the influence of age-related changes of executive functions on driving and how these changes may be compensated by specific individual training and/or the design of a senior-friendly traffic environment. Considering current demographic changes and therefore increasing numbers of older drivers the answering of these questions with behavioral and neurophysiological methods is of significant importance.


  • 2018: Poster price on the occation of the 14th Gemeinsamen Symposiums der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Verkehrsmedizin e. V. (DGVM) and the Deutschen Gesellschaft für Verkehrspsychologie e. V. (DGVP) in Saarbrücken (September 2018)

Key publications:

  • Karthaus, M. (2020). Multitasking und Ablenkung am Beispiel älterer Autofahrer. In M. Falkenstein & C. Kardys (Hrsg). Arbeit, Kognition und Alter (S. 26-37). Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.
    Falkenstein, M., Karthaus, M. & Brühne-Cors, U. (2021). Alterserkrankungen und Fahreignung. Zeitschrift für Verkehrssicherheit, 67, 59-70.
  • Karthaus, M., Wascher, E. & Getzmann, S. (2021). Distraction in the Driving Simulator: An Event-Related Potential (ERP) Study with Young, Middle-Aged, and Older Drivers, Safety 7, 2: 36. https://doi.org/10.3390/safety7020036
  • Wascher, E., Reiser, J., Rinkenauer, G., Larrá, M., Dreger, F. A., Schneider, D., Karthaus, M., Getzmann, S., Gutberlet, M., & Arnau, S. (2021). Neuroergonomics on the Go: An Evaluation of the Potential of Mobile EEG for Workplace Assessment and Design. Human Factors. https://doi.org/10.1177/00187208211007707
  • Karthaus, M., Wascher, E., Falkenstein, M. & Getzmann, S. (2020). The ability of young, middle-aged and older drivers to inhibit visual and auditory distraction in a driving simulator task, Transportation Research Part F, 68, 272-284. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trf.2019.11.007
  • Karthaus, M., Wascher, E. & Getzmann, S. (2018) Effects of Visual and Acoustic Distraction on Driving Behavior and EEG in Young and Older Car Drivers: A Driving Simulation Study. Front. Aging Neurosci. 10:420. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2018.00420
  • Wascher, E., Arnau, S., Gutberlet, I., Karthaus, M. & Getzmann, S. (2018). Evaluating Pro- and Re-Active Driving Behavior by Means of the EEG. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 12:205. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2018.00205
  • Karthaus M, Wascher E, Getzmann S (2018) Proactive vs. reactive car driving: EEG evidence for different driving strategies of older drivers.
    PLoS ONE 13(1): e0191500. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0191500
  • Falkenstein, M. & Karthaus, M. (2017). Wie kognitive Veränderungen im Alter die Fahreignung beeinflussen. NeuroTransmitter, 28(11), 50-57
  • Falkenstein, M. & Karthaus, M. (2017). Fahreignung im höheren Lebensalter. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.
  • Karthaus, M., & Falkenstein, M. (2016). Functional Changes and Driving Performance in Older Drivers: Assessment and Interventions. Geriatrics, 1(2), 12. doi:10.3390/geriatrics1020012
  • Wascher, E., Getzmann, S. & Karthaus, M. (2016). Driver state examination – Treading new paths. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 91, 157-165.
  • Karthaus M, Willemssen R, Joiko S, Falkenstein M: Kompensationsstrategien von älteren Verkehrsteilnehmern nach einer VZR-Auffälligkeit. Bremen: Fachverlag NW, Schünemann Verlag, 2015 (Berichte der Bundesanstalt für Straßenwesen, Heft M 254)
  • Hahn, M., Wild-Wall, N., & Falkenstein, M. (2013). Age-Related Changes of Neural Control Processes and Their Significance for Driving Performance. In C.M. Schlick, E. Frieling & J. Wegge (Eds.). Age-Differentiated Work Systems (p. 299-317.). Heidelberg: Springer.
  • Hahn, M., Wild-Wall, N., & Falkenstein, M. (2011). Age-related differences in performance and stimulus processing in dual task situation. Brain Research, 1414, 66-76.
  • Hahn, M., Falkenstein, M., & Wild-Wall, N. (2010). Age-related performance differences in compensatory tracking under a dual task condition. Occupational Ergo-nomics, 9(2), 75-86.