François Vachon

François Vachon
Laval University | ULAVAL · School of Psychology

Ph.D.

About

107
Publications
34,355
Reads
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2,115
Citations
Citations since 2016
48 Research Items
1373 Citations
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200
Additional affiliations
June 2016 - present
Université Laval
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
July 2011 - May 2016
Laval University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
July 2009 - June 2011
Laval University
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (107)
Article
The occurrence of an unexpected, infrequent sound in an otherwise homogeneous auditory background tends to disrupt the ongoing cognitive task. This ‘deviation effect’ is typically explained in terms of attentional capture whereby the deviant sound draws attention away from the focal activity, regardless of the nature of this activity. Yet, there is...
Article
Full-text available
The mere presence of task-irrelevant auditory stimuli is known to interfere with cognitive functioning. Disruption can be caused by changing auditory distractors (the changing-state effect) or by a sound that deviates from the auditory background (the deviation effect). The unitary account of auditory distraction explains both phenomena in terms of...
Article
In complex dynamic work environments, the consequences of task interruptions on performance can put public safety at risk. If not designed carefully, current tools aiming to facilitate interruption recovery can instead hamper performance due to information overload. Although a simpler solution—the forewarning of an imminent interruption—has proven...
Article
Automatic information processing has been and still is a debated topic. Traditionally, automatic processes are deemed to take place autonomously and independently of top-down cognitive control. For decades, the literature on reading has brought to the fore empirical phenomena such as Stroop and semantic priming effects that provide support for the...
Article
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Sight-singing is an inescapable component of music training in higher education and is often challenging for students. However, some strategies could help students perform. Yet, the extent to which students can use strategies to improve their sight-singing performance remains unclear. This article asks two questions to fill this gap: (1) Which stra...
Article
Full-text available
Sounds that deviate, acoustically or semantically, from prevailing auditory backgrounds disrupt ongoing mental activity. An acoustic deviant is held to capture attention, but doubt has been cast on the attentional nature of the semantic, categorical deviation effect. Unlike the acoustical deviation effect, which is typically amenable to top-down co...
Article
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Cognitive training aims to produce a durable transfer to untrained abilities (i.e., far transfer). However, designing effective programs is difficult, because far transfer mechanisms are not well understood. Greenwood and Parasuraman (2016) proposed that the ability to ignore distractions is key in promoting far transfer. While the authors identifi...
Article
A rare and unexpected change (or deviation) in the properties of an irrelevant auditory background can disrupt performance of a visual focal task via attentional capture. Although this effect is typically caused by a change in the acoustic properties of the sound, recent evidence has shown that a change in (semantic) category within a sound stream...
Article
Full-text available
Sight-singing is prevalent in aural skill classes, where learners differ in experience and cognitive abilities. In this research, we investigated whether musical experience, level of study, and working memory capacity (WMC) can predict sight-singing performance and if there is a correlation between WMC and performance among some subgroups of partic...
Article
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Dans les bureaux à aire ouverte, les conversations en arrière-plan influencent négativement le bien-être des employés ainsi que leur performance sur des tâches quotidiennes. Des résultats récents suggèrent d’ailleurs que la nature personnelle des conversations amplifie leur pouvoir distracteur, d’où l’importance de la présente étude visant à vérifi...
Article
Full-text available
Studies examining individual differences in interruption recovery have shown that higher working memory capacity (WMC) attenuated the negative impact of interruption length on resumption, at least in static contexts. In continuously evolving (or dynamic) situations, however, working memory may not be as central to the effective resumption of a task...
Article
We observed how information about the structure of tone sequences modulates cortical responses in the context of a standard short-term memory (STM) task. Participants heard two sequences of one, three, or five tones (203 ms on, 203 ms off) interspersed by a silent interval (2 s) and decided whether the sequences were the same or different. In exper...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Being exposed to an irrelevant sound that deviates from the auditory scene can disrupt performance on an ongoing task. This deviation effect is usually explained in terms of attention capture whereby the detection of an unexpected acoustical irregularity – or deviation – triggers an involuntary attentional diversion from ongoing mental...
Article
Full-text available
Security surveillance entails many cognitive challenges (e.g., task interruption, vigilance decrements, cognitive overload). To help surveillance operators overcome these difficulties and perform more efficient visual search, gaze-based intelligent systems can be developed. The present study aimed at testing the impact of the Scantracker system—whi...
Article
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Les différentes théories de l’impulsivité suggèrent que la présence plus prononcée de ce trait de personnalité est liée à une plus grande susceptibilité à la distraction. Une distractibilité accrue pourrait être particulièrement problématique dans les environnements caractérisés par la présence de bruits ambiants comme les bureaux à aire ouverte. L...
Chapter
Full-text available
The validity of two commercial-off-the-shelf eye trackers, including a fixed system and a mobile device, was compared in the context of a gaze-based assistant tool implemented to aid security surveillance. Participants performed a security surveillance simulation that required them to detect incidents across multiple video feeds. Aid from the Scant...
Article
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Classically, attentional selectivity has been conceptualized as a passive by-product of capacity-limits on stimulus-processing. Here, we examine the role of more active cognitive control processes in attentional selectivity, focusing on how distraction from task-irrelevant sound is modulated by levels of task-engagement in a visually-presented shor...
Article
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Certain(e)s chercheur(euse)s attribuent l’inefficacité des politiques environnementales à différents facteurs cognitifs. Cependant, leurs mécanismes sous-jacents sont encore méconnus. Une récente proposition théorique suggère l’existence d’une origine commune entre plusieurs de ces distorsions cognitives. Afin de tester cette proposition, la présen...
Article
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Workers such as police officers are exposed to many hazardous situations while performing traffic duties, which renders them vulnerable to work accidents. Such a dangerous work context can lead to high stress levels. This is conducive to performance impairment and, consequently, to high-risk situations in which safety, for both workers and road use...
Chapter
Full-text available
Notre cerveau est une merveille de l’évolution qui nous permet notamment de communiquer, d’apprendre, de percevoir notre environnement, de nous concentrer, de nous souvenir d’un événement et de nous adapter à des situations nouvelles. Malgré toutes ces qualités, il arrive fréquemment que notre cerveau nous joue des tours qui se traduisent par des m...
Chapter
Auditory alarms are widely used in aviation to provide information and/or elicit attention (re)orienting toward emergency situations. However, several incidents result from an absence of reaction to such alarms. In this context, the fast and timely detection of the pilot’s failure to notice an auditory alarm could help preventing accidents through...
Article
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Traffic workers are vulnerable to accidents and must make critical decisions to avoid conflicts between road users. This can lead to high stress levels, which may hinder their capacity to mitigate the occurrence of hazards. Measuring stress on the field could represent an efficient solution to help pinpoint risky situations and identify factors tha...
Article
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) is increasingly used as a means to ensure the safety and security of critical infrastructure and public spaces. Operators in control rooms are responsible for monitoring multiple camera feeds that generally exceed the number of screens available. Using a realistic video surveillance simulation, the current study inv...
Article
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Multitasking—the performance of several tasks at the same time—is becoming increasingly prevalent in workplaces. Multitasking is known to disrupt performance, particularly in complex and dynamic situations, which is exactly what most military occupations entail. Since military errors can be consequential, the detrimental impact of multitasking on c...
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Task-irrelevant speech impairs short-term serial recall appreciably. On the interference-by-process account, the processing of physical (i.e., pre-categorical) changes in speech yields order cues that conflict with the serial-ordering process deployed to perform the serial recall task. In this view, the post-categorical properties (e.g., phonology,...
Article
The failure to notice critical changes in both visual and auditory scenes may have important consequences for performance in complex dynamic environments, especially those related to security such as aviation, surveillance during major events, and command and control of emergency response. Previous work has shown that a significant number of situat...
Article
Full-text available
Telephone conversation is ubiquitous within the office setting. Overhearing a telephone conversation—whereby only one of the two speakers is heard—is subjectively more annoying and objectively more distracting than overhearing a full conversation. The present study sought to determine whether this "halfalogue" effect is attributable to unexpected o...
Article
Full-text available
The rare presentation of a sound that deviates from the auditory background tends to capture attention, which is known to impede cognitive functioning. Such disruption is usually measured using performance on a concurrent visual task. Growing evidence recently showed that the pupillary dilation response (PDR) could index the attentional response tr...
Article
Sequence learning plays a key role in many daily activities such as language and skills acquisition. The present study sought to assess the nature of the Hebb repetition effect—the enhanced serial recall for a repeated sequence of items compared to random sequences—by examining the vulnerability of this classical sequence-learning phenomenon to aud...
Chapter
Full-text available
Surveillance operators must scan multiple camera feeds to ensure timely detection of incidents; however, variability in scanning behavior can lead to untimely/failed detection of critical information in feeds that were neglected for a long period. Using an eye tracker to monitor screen fixations we can calculate (in real-time) the time elapsed sinc...
Article
While the development of intelligent technologies in security surveillance can augment human capabilities, they do not replace the role of the operator entirely; as such, when developing surveillance support it is critical that limitations to the cognitive system are taken into account. The current article reviews the cognitive challenges associate...
Article
Providing decision support to operators in command and control contexts requires careful assessment of its impacts on task performance. Here we describe a human-in-the-loop experiment using a naval air defense testbed to compare three conditions: 1) a baseline interface (DSSBASE; 2) one that displays the temporal proximity of radar aircraft (DSSTEM...
Article
Cell-phone conversation is ubiquitous within public spaces. The current study investigates whether ignored cell-phone conversation impairs eyewitness memory for a perpetrator. Participants viewed a video of a staged crime in the presence of 1 side of a comprehensible cell-phone conversation (meaningful halfalogue), 2 sides of a comprehensible cell-...
Article
Policy capturing is a judgment analysis method that typically uses linear statistical modeling to estimate expert judgments. A variant to this technique is to capture decision policies using data-mining algorithms designed to handle nonlinear decision rules, missing attributes, and noisy data. In the current study, we tested the effectiveness of a...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background speech is consistently rated as the most objectionable noise in open-plan offices. There is ample evidence that acoustic variation in the speech is a key determinant of its disruption of cognitive performance. Theoretically, any means of attenuating sound variability such as increasing room reverberation should help counter the negative...
Article
Individuals with schizophrenia typically show increased levels of distractibility. This has been attributed to impaired working memory capacity (WMC), since lower WMC is typically associated with higher distractibility and schizophrenia is typically associated with impoverished WMC. Here, participants performed verbal and spatial serial recall task...
Article
Pupillary reactions independent of light conditions have been linked to cognition for a long time. However, the light conditions can impact the cognitive pupillary reaction. Previous studies underlined the impact of luminance on pupillary reaction, but it is still unclear how luminance modulates the sustained and transient components of pupillary r...
Article
Detecting task-relevant changes in a visual scene is necessary for successfully monitoring and managing dynamic command and control situations. Change blindness—the failure to notice visual changes—is an important source of human error. Change History EXplicit (CHEX) is a tool developed to aid change detection and maintain situation awareness, and...
Article
Operators working in extreme environments are often confronted with task interruptions. These interruptions tend to impair performance, which can represent a threat to public safety. Most of the tools designed to aid task resumption in such dynamic contexts are post-interruption solutions consisting of providing information about missed events once...
Article
The CSSS microworld simulates the task of a closed-circuit television (CCTV) operator responsible for monitoring multiple CCTV feeds in the context of security surveillance. Operators must manage the display of multiple CCTV feeds, monitor the feeds for critical incidents, and then report detected incidents. The microworld can be used for human fac...
Article
Dynamic and complex command and control situations often require the timely recognition of changes in the environment in order to detect potentially malicious actions. Change detection can be challenging within a continually evolving scene, and particularly under multitasking conditions whereby attention is necessarily divided between several subta...
Article
Policy capturing is a decision analysis method that typically uses linear statistical modeling to estimate the basis of expert judgments. Using more flexible data mining algorithms may yield more accurate models or instead result in poor functional estimations. The objective of this study is to test the effectiveness of a decision tree induction al...
Article
Change blindness (CB) – the failure to notice visual changes – is an important source of human errors in managing dynamic multitasking situations, especially when the tempo at which the situation evolves as well as the timeliness of the decisions are critical to performance and to achieving higher order goals. The support of temporal awareness – in...
Article
In dynamic environments such as air-traffic control, emergency response and security surveillance, there are severe constraints to information processing and decision-making. Human operators must constantly monitor, assess, and integrate incoming information in order to make optimal decisions in such complex environments. In order to maximize opera...
Conference Paper
Intelligent video surveillance systems (IVSS) that can track people, identify unattended objects, and recognize activity are constantly being developed, updated, and tested against standard test stimuli. The development of these systems, however, seems to focus on technological advancements and largely ignores how automation will affect the human c...
Article
The attentional blink (AB) refers to the impairment in accurate report of a second target (T2) when presented shortly after a first target (T1) in a rapid serial visual presentation of distractors. The goal of the present study was to determine whether the AB is caused by a failure in early selection processes, which leads to the selection and cons...
Article
When the frequency of one harmonic, in a sound composed of many harmonics, is briefly mistuned and then returned to the ‘in-tune’ frequency and phase, observers report hearing this harmonic as a separate tone long after the brief period of mistuning — a phenomenon called harmonic enhancement. Here, we examined the consequence of harmonic enhancemen...
Conference Paper
Despite advances in surveillance technologies, security and command and control (C2) centers still rely strongly on human operators to detect critical events. Human factors—such as cognitive workload and limited attentional capacity—have been shown to affect operators' ability to detect critical incidents. The current standard surveillance environm...
Article
Using a microworld simulation of maritime decision making, we compared two decision support systems (DSS) in their impact upon recovery from interruption. The Temporal Overview Display (TOD) and Change History Table (CHT) – designed to support temporal awareness and change detection, respectively – have previously proven useful in improving situati...
Article
The LABY microworld, a functional simulation of Air Traffic Control (ATC), captures the underlying processes involved in electronic air traffic management with a simplified version of the operational human-machine interface. LABY is a computer-based human-in-the-loop dynamic environment whereby a controller must issue directional commands to guide...
Article
Large display screens are common in supervisory tasks, meaning that alerts are often perceived in peripheral vision. Five air traffic control notification designs were evaluated in their ability to capture attention during an ongoing supervisory task, as well as their impact on the primary task. A range of performance measures, eye-tracking and sub...
Conference Paper
While eye tracking can provide invaluable information on visual cognition, it is uncertain whether the pattern of one's ocular behavior could reflect mental processes beyond the mere visual encoding of task-relevant information. The present study is concerned with the use of eye-movement measures as indicators of the cognitive processing involved i...
Article
This study aims to determine whether indirect touch device can be used to interact with graphical objects displayed on another screen in an air traffic control (ATC) context. The introduction of such a device likely requires an adaptation of the sensory-motor system. The operator has to simultaneously perform movements on the horizontal plane while...
Article
Objective The aim of this study was to test whether inattentional deafness to critical alarms would be observed in a simulated cockpit. Background The inability of pilots to detect unexpected changes in their auditory environment (e.g., alarms) is a major safety problem in aeronautics. In aviation, the lack of response to alarms is usually not att...
Article
Objective: The aim of this study was to test whether inattentional deafness to critical alarms would be observed in a simulated cockpit. Background: The inability of pilots to detect unexpected changes in their auditory environment (e.g., alarms) is a major safety problem in aeronautics. In aviation, the lack of response to alarms is usually not...
Article
Interruptions impair performance even on simple, static, laboratory-based tasks, but little research has looked at their impact in more complex and realistic settings that involve dynamically evolving circumstances and other environmental stressors. Using a radar operator task with or without background sound, participants were unexpectedly interru...
Conference Paper
This study shows how the use of various measures of eye movement can serve to portray dynamic decision-making (DDM) in a coherent fashion. We extracted eye movement metrics relative to 1) scanpath, 2) eye fixations, and 3) pupillary response, to characterize DDM during the process of risk assessment. Results from Experiment 1 revealed that incorrec...
Article
Full-text available
The influence of top-down cognitive control on 2 putatively distinct forms of distraction was investigated. Attentional capture by a task-irrelevant auditory deviation (e.g., a female-spoken token following a sequence of male-spoken tokens)-as indexed by its disruption of a visually presented recall task-was abolished when focal-task engagement was...
Article
Unlabelled: The purpose of this study was to investigate the possibility to integrate a free head motion eye-tracking system as input device in air traffic control (ATC) activity. Sixteen participants used an eye tracker to select targets displayed on a screen as quickly and accurately as possible. We assessed the impact of the presence of visual...
Article
We employed a computer-controlled command-and-control (C2) simulation and recorded eye movements to examine the extent and nature of the inability to detect critical changes in dynamic displays when change detection is implicit (i.e., requires no explicit report) to the operator's task. Change blindness-the failure to notice significant changes to...
Conference Paper
Temporal awareness is pivotal to successful real-time dynamic decision making in a wide range of command and control situations; particularly in safety-critical environments. However, little explicit support for operators' temporal awareness is provided by decision support systems (DSS) for time-critical decisions. In the context of functional simu...
Article
The inability of pilots to detect unexpected changes in the environment (e.g., auditory alarms) is a critical problem in aeronautics. The lack of response to alarms is not thought to be a perceptual/attentional issue, but rather that pilots choose to ignore such warnings due to cognitive biases. In the current paper we consider an alternative expla...
Chapter
Full-text available
Mental workload is a key factor influencing the occurrence of human error; specifically in remotely-operated vehicle operations. Both low and high mental workload has been found to disrupt performance in a nonlinear fashion at a given task; however, research that has attempted to predict individual mental workload has met with little success. The o...
Article
Change detection is required in monitoring and managing complex situations such as air traffic control. Considering that change blindness—the incapacity to detect changes in a visual scene—is a considerable source of human errors and that most studies on change detection have involved static visual scenes, it is crucial to evaluate existing tools d...
Article
Full-text available
The role of memory in behavioral distraction by auditory attentional capture was investigated: We examined whether capture is a product of the novelty of the capturing event (i.e., the absence of a recent memory for the event) or its violation of learned expectancies on the basis of a memory for an event structure. Attentional capture-indicated by...
Chapter
Full-text available
Temporal awareness is key to dynamic decision making (DDM) in a wide range of complex situations in safety-critical environments. Yet little is known about the effectiveness of temporal support when making critical time-based decisions. In the present study, we examine whether a decision support system (DSS) that provides an external time-based rep...
Article
The review of literature in sociology and distributed artificial intelligence reveals that the occurrence of conflict is a remarkable precursor to the disruption of multi-agent systems. The study of this concept could be applied to human factors concerns, as man-system conflict appears to provoke perseveration behavior and to degrade attentional ab...
Conference Paper
In this paper, we report results from a large-scale military experiment with Canadian Forces (CF) officers on the impact of collaborative work support systems—in the present experiment, a set of integrated tools such as operations planning systems, joint fire systems and other logistics tools—on individual and shared situation awareness (SA). In or...