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  • 1.
    Chérif, Lobna
    et al.
    Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, Canada.
    Wood, Valerie
    Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, Canada.
    Marois, Alexandre
    École de psychologie, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.
    Labonté, Katherine
    École de psychologie, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.
    Vachon, François
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology. École de psychologie, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.
    Multitasking in the military: Cognitive consequences and potential solutions2018In: Applied Cognitive Psychology, ISSN 0888-4080, E-ISSN 1099-0720, Vol. 32, no 4, p. 429-439Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    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. Because military errors can be consequential, the detrimental impact of multitasking on cognitive functioning in such contexts should be taken seriously. This review pertains to high-consequence military occupations that require strong multitasking skills. More specifically, it highlights cognitive challenges arising from different forms of multitasking and discusses their underlying cognitive processes. Because such challenges are not expected to diminish, this review proposes context-relevant solutions to decrease occupational workload, either by reducing the cognitive load ensuing from the to-be-performed tasks or by improving soldiers' multitasking abilities. To ensure effective implementation of these solutions, we stress the need to design context-adapted tools and procedures, and to guide human resource managers in developing particular strategies.

  • 2.
    Marois, Alexandre
    et al.
    École de psychologie, Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada.
    Vachon, François
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology. École de psychologie, Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada.
    Can pupillometry index auditory attentional capture in contexts of active visual processing?2018In: Journal of Cognitive Psychology, ISSN 2044-5911, E-ISSN 2044-592X, Vol. 30, no 4, p. 484-502Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    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 triggered by a deviant sound. Given that the pupil diameter is sensitive to several vision-related factors, it is unclear whether the PDR could serve to study attentional capture in such contexts. Hence, the present study aimed at verifying whether the PDR can be used as a proxy for auditory attentional capture while a visual serial recall task (Experiment 1) or a reading comprehension task (Experiment 2) ? respectively producing changes in luminance and gaze position ? is being performed. Results showed that presenting a deviant sound within steady-state standard sounds elicited larger PDRs than a standard sound. Moreover, the magnitude of these PDRs was positively related to the amount of performance disruption produced by deviant sounds in Experiment 1. Performance remained unaffected by the deviants in Experiment 2, thereby implying that the PDR may be a more sensitive attention-capture index than behavioural measures. These results suggest that the PDR can be used to assess attentional capture by a deviant sound in contexts where the pupil diameter can be modulated by the visual environment.

  • 3.
    Marsh, John E.
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Ljung, Robert
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Jahncke, Helena
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences, Occupational health science. University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research.
    MacCutcheon, Douglas
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology.
    Pausch, Florian
    Institute of Technical Acoustics, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.
    Ball, Linden J.
    School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK 3.
    Vachon, François
    École de psychologie, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.
    Why are background telephone conversations distracting?2018In: Journal of experimental psychology. Applied, ISSN 1076-898X, E-ISSN 1939-2192, Vol. 24, no 2, p. 222-235Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    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 offsets and onsets within the background speech (acoustic unexpectedness) or to the tendency to predict the unheard part of the conversation (semantic [un]predictability), and whether these effects can be shielded against through top-down cognitive control. In Experiment 1, participants performed an office-related task in quiet or in the presence of halfalogue and dialogue background speech. Irrelevant speech was either meaningful or meaningless speech. The halfalogue effect was only present for the meaningful speech condition. Experiment 2 addressed whether higher task-engagement could shield against the halfalogue effect by manipulating the font of the to-be-read material. Although the halfalogue effect was found with an easy-to-read font (fluent text), the use of a difficult-to-read font (disfluent text) eliminated the effect. The halfalogue effect is thus attributable to the semantic (un)predictability, not the acoustic unexpectedness, of background telephone conversation and can be prevented by simple means such as increasing the level of engagement required by the focal task. 

  • 4.
    Marsh, John
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology. School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, England.
    Yang, Jingqi
    School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, England.
    Qualter, Pamela
    School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, England.
    Richardson, Cassandra
    School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, England.
    Perham, Nick
    Department of Applied Psychology, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, Wales.
    Vachon, François
    School of Psychology, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.
    Hughes, Robert W.
    Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, London, England.
    Post-Categorical Auditory Distraction in Serial Short-Term Memory: Insights from Increased Task-Load and Task-Type2018In: Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory and Cognition, ISSN 0278-7393, E-ISSN 1939-1285, Vol. 44, no 6, p. 882-897Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Task-irrelevant speech impairs short-term serial recall appreciably. On the interference-by-process account, the processing of physical (i.e., precategorical) changes in speech yields order cues that conflict with the serial-ordering process deployed to perform the serial recall task. In this view, the postcategorical properties (e.g., phonology, meaning) of speech play no role. The present study reassessed the implications of recent demonstrations of auditory postcategorical distraction in serial recall that have been taken as support for an alternative, attentional-diversion, account of the irrelevant speech effect. Focusing on the disruptive effect of emotionally valent compared with neutral words on serial recall, we show that the distracter-valence effect is eliminated under conditions—high task-encoding load—thought to shield against attentional diversion whereas the general effect of speech (neutral words compared with quiet) remains unaffected (Experiment 1). Furthermore, the distracter-valence effect generalizes to a task that does not require the processing of serial order—the missing-item task—whereas the effect of speech per se is attenuated in this task (Experiment 2). We conclude that postcategorical auditory distraction phenomena in serial short-term memory (STM) are incidental: they are observable in such a setting but, unlike the acoustically driven irrelevant speech effect, are not integral to it. As such, the findings support a duplex-mechanism account over a unitary view of auditory distraction.

  • 5.
    Vachon, François
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Environmental psychology. École de psychologie, Université Laval, Québec, CA.
    Marois, Alexandre
    École de psychologie, Université Laval, Québec, CA.
    Lévesque-Dion, Michaël
    École de psychologie, Université Laval, Québec, CA.
    Legendre, Maxime
    École de psychologie, Université Laval, Québec, CA.
    Saint-Aubin, Jean
    École de psychologie, Université de Moncton, Moncton, CA.
    Can ‘Hebb’ Be Distracted? Testing the Susceptibility of Sequence Learning to Auditory Distraction2018In: Journal of Cognition, E-ISSN 2514-4820, Vol. 1, no 1, article id 7Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    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 auditory distraction. Sound can cause unwanted distraction by either interfering specifically with the processes involved in the focal task (interference-by-process), or by diverting attention away from a focal task (attentional capture). Participants were asked to perform visual serial recall, in which one to-be-remembered sequence was repeated every four trials, while ignoring irrelevant sound. Whereas both changing-state (Experiment 1) and deviant sounds (Experiment 2) disrupted recall performance compared to steady-state sounds, performance for the repeated sequence increased across repetitions at the same rate regardless of the sound condition. Such findings suggest that Hebbian sequence learning is impervious to environmental interference, which provides further evidence that the Hebb repetition effect is an analogue of word-form learning.

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