UCLIC Research Seminar Series
Interruptions are a common feature of everyday and workplace settings and are increasing with the charging development of communicative and connected technology ranging from smartphones to fully automated road vehicles. Interruptions divert attention away from a primary task, consume cognitive resources and place demands on memory. They shave hours off working days, increase error propensity and can cause accidents and fatalities. Interruption effects are almost universally negative and include: forgetting suspended intentions, suspended task resumption delays, elevated suspended task completion times, and increased stress. Disruption is greater when an interrupting task takes more than a few seconds to complete and especially when cognitive resources are stretched. During this talk, I will review a concentrated research effort by interruption and distraction researchers spanning more than 30-years that has attempted to unpick the effects of interruptions and distractions on cognition, behaviour, and task performance, including some of my own work from the past 15 years. I aim to provide a somewhat controversial and critical discussion of this work (including of my own studies), suggest alternative ways to measure interruption effects, and provide recommendations on how to better handle interruptions. I will also critically discuss methods that have been developed to mitigate interruption effects (including 'one of my own') and highlight limitations and future directions. Throughout the talk, I will discuss the findings of a range of recent interruption studies from my laboratory (plus work with collaborators) in the areas of patient safety, driving, cyber security, memory and problem solving and involving diverse samples such as healthcare professionals, medical decision makers, military personnel, and of course - university students.
Phil's research expertise is in: task interruption and distraction, HCI and display design, cyber-security, working memory, problem solving, emotion, strategic behaviour and adaptation, and mental rotation. He uses a range of hardware including driving simulators, eye trackers, Biopacs, and EEG. At UWE-Bristol, he is working on two Technology Strategy Board Innovate UK projects examining human factors issues relating to the acceptance and use of fully autonomous vehicles. Venturer (£3.2M) involves testing understanding and acceptance of autonomous vehicles and measuring factors affecting handover-takeover of autonomous vehicles (AVs). FLOURISH (£5.55M) is a connected autonomous vehicle (CAV) project focussed on older drivers and individuals with mobility issues. Partners include: University of Bristol, Bristol Robotics Laboratory, Atkins, Airbus Group, AXA, Imtech, Aiseedo, Designability, OPM, Transport Systems Catapult, Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire Council, Catapult, and Age UK. Phil is also working on a BRACE grant investigating 'Executive Functions and Real-World Decision Making in Self-Reported Healthy Older Adults (with Drs Nancy Zook and Gary Christopher).