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P300 event-related potential as an indicator of inattentional deafness?

Giraudet L, St-Louis ME, Scannella S, Causse M - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Analysis of the EEG measurements showed a drastic diminution of the auditory P300 amplitude concomitant with this behavioral effect, whereas the N100 component was not affected.We suggest that these behavioral and electrophysiological results provide new insights on explaining the trend of pilots' failure to react to critical auditory information.Relevant applications concern prevention of alarms omission, mental workload measurements and enhanced warning designs.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: DMIA, ISAE, Université de Toulouse, Toulouse, 31055, France.

ABSTRACT
An analysis of airplane accidents reveals that pilots sometimes purely fail to react to critical auditory alerts. This inability of an auditory stimulus to reach consciousness has been coined under the term of inattentional deafness. Recent data from literature tends to show that tasks involving high cognitive load consume most of the attentional capacities, leaving little or none remaining for processing any unexpected information. In addition, there is a growing body of evidence for a shared attentional capacity between vision and hearing. In this context, the abundant information in modern cockpits is likely to produce inattentional deafness. We investigated this hypothesis by combining electroencephalographic (EEG) measurements with an ecological aviation task performed under contextual variation of the cognitive load (high or low), including an alarm detection task. Two different audio tones were played: standard tones and deviant tones. Participants were instructed to ignore standard tones and to report deviant tones using a response pad. More than 31% of the deviant tones were not detected in the high load condition. Analysis of the EEG measurements showed a drastic diminution of the auditory P300 amplitude concomitant with this behavioral effect, whereas the N100 component was not affected. We suggest that these behavioral and electrophysiological results provide new insights on explaining the trend of pilots' failure to react to critical auditory information. Relevant applications concern prevention of alarms omission, mental workload measurements and enhanced warning designs.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Illustration of the two landing task difficulty levels and the table of rules for landing.On top, a low load landing task video on the left, and a high load landing task video, on the right. In the high load condition, indicators appeared in red. Below, the rules for deciding whether it was possible or not to land in the landing task.
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pone.0118556.g002: Illustration of the two landing task difficulty levels and the table of rules for landing.On top, a low load landing task video on the left, and a high load landing task video, on the right. In the high load condition, indicators appeared in red. Below, the rules for deciding whether it was possible or not to land in the landing task.

Mentions: The landing task. Correct response rates in landing and visual alarm detection rates were the dependent variables. The participants were submitted to a series of trials that consisted of a 2 to 4.5 second video clip reproducing a landing situation, followed by a 2 second response time window during which they had to respond if they would authorize the landing or not by pressing a button (see Fig. 1). During the videos, a Primary Flight Display (PFD) inspired from plane cockpits was presented with various indicators: the heading (“Cap”), the magnetic declination, and the wind speed (“Vent”) were located in the upper left corner. The magnetic declination had to be added to the heading. All these indicators were static during the video. In addition, two moving cursors representing an Instrument Landing System (ILS) were displayed: one on a vertical axis and the other on the horizontal axis. During the response window, the PFD instrument was removed to indicate the beginning of the response window, and the ILS cursors were frozen but still displayed on the screen. In order to provide the participants with complete information for the landing decision, all other indicators were also displayed. Importantly, participants were asked to decide whether the landing was possible or not according to the indicators and the final position of the cursors. Fig. 2 presents the rules for landing decision depending on the cursors and indicators. The rules varied depending on the cognitive load level of the trial. In the low-load trials, the indicators located on the upper left corner appeared in green and did not show any potential problems. They clearly indicated a perfect nominal heading, no magnetic deviation, and no wind. Hence, the decision to land relied solely on the two cursors, which had to be located between-2 and +2 on the arbitrary scale. In the high-load trials, the indicators’ values appeared in red, i.e. they showed a degradation of the aircraft status. The distance between the two cursors and the center of their respective axes became more conservative the larger the deviation of the indicators from their nominal values (Fig. 2). During the response time window, participants responded by pressing the response button for possible landing (right) or no landing (left).


P300 event-related potential as an indicator of inattentional deafness?

Giraudet L, St-Louis ME, Scannella S, Causse M - PLoS ONE (2015)

Illustration of the two landing task difficulty levels and the table of rules for landing.On top, a low load landing task video on the left, and a high load landing task video, on the right. In the high load condition, indicators appeared in red. Below, the rules for deciding whether it was possible or not to land in the landing task.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4340620&req=5

pone.0118556.g002: Illustration of the two landing task difficulty levels and the table of rules for landing.On top, a low load landing task video on the left, and a high load landing task video, on the right. In the high load condition, indicators appeared in red. Below, the rules for deciding whether it was possible or not to land in the landing task.
Mentions: The landing task. Correct response rates in landing and visual alarm detection rates were the dependent variables. The participants were submitted to a series of trials that consisted of a 2 to 4.5 second video clip reproducing a landing situation, followed by a 2 second response time window during which they had to respond if they would authorize the landing or not by pressing a button (see Fig. 1). During the videos, a Primary Flight Display (PFD) inspired from plane cockpits was presented with various indicators: the heading (“Cap”), the magnetic declination, and the wind speed (“Vent”) were located in the upper left corner. The magnetic declination had to be added to the heading. All these indicators were static during the video. In addition, two moving cursors representing an Instrument Landing System (ILS) were displayed: one on a vertical axis and the other on the horizontal axis. During the response window, the PFD instrument was removed to indicate the beginning of the response window, and the ILS cursors were frozen but still displayed on the screen. In order to provide the participants with complete information for the landing decision, all other indicators were also displayed. Importantly, participants were asked to decide whether the landing was possible or not according to the indicators and the final position of the cursors. Fig. 2 presents the rules for landing decision depending on the cursors and indicators. The rules varied depending on the cognitive load level of the trial. In the low-load trials, the indicators located on the upper left corner appeared in green and did not show any potential problems. They clearly indicated a perfect nominal heading, no magnetic deviation, and no wind. Hence, the decision to land relied solely on the two cursors, which had to be located between-2 and +2 on the arbitrary scale. In the high-load trials, the indicators’ values appeared in red, i.e. they showed a degradation of the aircraft status. The distance between the two cursors and the center of their respective axes became more conservative the larger the deviation of the indicators from their nominal values (Fig. 2). During the response time window, participants responded by pressing the response button for possible landing (right) or no landing (left).

Bottom Line: Analysis of the EEG measurements showed a drastic diminution of the auditory P300 amplitude concomitant with this behavioral effect, whereas the N100 component was not affected.We suggest that these behavioral and electrophysiological results provide new insights on explaining the trend of pilots' failure to react to critical auditory information.Relevant applications concern prevention of alarms omission, mental workload measurements and enhanced warning designs.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: DMIA, ISAE, Université de Toulouse, Toulouse, 31055, France.

ABSTRACT
An analysis of airplane accidents reveals that pilots sometimes purely fail to react to critical auditory alerts. This inability of an auditory stimulus to reach consciousness has been coined under the term of inattentional deafness. Recent data from literature tends to show that tasks involving high cognitive load consume most of the attentional capacities, leaving little or none remaining for processing any unexpected information. In addition, there is a growing body of evidence for a shared attentional capacity between vision and hearing. In this context, the abundant information in modern cockpits is likely to produce inattentional deafness. We investigated this hypothesis by combining electroencephalographic (EEG) measurements with an ecological aviation task performed under contextual variation of the cognitive load (high or low), including an alarm detection task. Two different audio tones were played: standard tones and deviant tones. Participants were instructed to ignore standard tones and to report deviant tones using a response pad. More than 31% of the deviant tones were not detected in the high load condition. Analysis of the EEG measurements showed a drastic diminution of the auditory P300 amplitude concomitant with this behavioral effect, whereas the N100 component was not affected. We suggest that these behavioral and electrophysiological results provide new insights on explaining the trend of pilots' failure to react to critical auditory information. Relevant applications concern prevention of alarms omission, mental workload measurements and enhanced warning designs.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus