Cognitive System Integration

Cognition and Security Surveillance

Operator-monitored CCTV surveillance systems are used around the world to maintain public safety. Despite recent advances in surveillance equipment, operators still face many cognitive challenges such as information overload, multitasking, background sound, interruptions, and fatigue, all of which place stresses on the operator’s cognitive system and reduce the efficiency with which they perform this complex set of tasks. The key objectives of this project are (1) to develop a psychologically-grounded characterisation of the problem space, and then (2) design and test innovative solutions to improve surveillance performance. To do so, we have developed a multi-screen surveillance microworld with dynamically-evolving crowd scenes that contain a variety of simulated incidents. Using online measures of human-system interaction—including tracing operators’ manipulation of the information displays and tracking their eye movements—we examine the processes that support superior surveillance performance under a variety of conditions.

Cognition and online adverstising

Online ads are ubiquitous on the internet and represent a major source of income for many organizations. In 2012, investment in online advertisement in North America exceeded $36.5B USD, however their efficiency has often been questioned. Indeed, on average only 1 in 1,000 ads are clicked on by internet users who instead claim to avoid such ads as often as possible. Many factors will influence the web user's decision – whether it is to avoid an ad or to click on it – and ad efficiency can also be analyzed with intermediate effects (e.g. memory for ads, attitudinal effects). Research projects conducted in the Co-DOT lab focus on ad effectiveness using eye tracking systems and cognitive metrics. We analyze internet users’ avoidance strategies and look for critical factors to explain them. We also develop measures of memory for ads that are adapted for a low-attention ad processing context, such as the online environment.

Decision in «extreme» situations

The prevalence of surveillance and information collection technologies provides decision-makers with a great volume and complexity of information to monitor and on which to base their decisions. Unless a better understanding is gained of the factors and conditions that facilitate the cognitive processes underlying decision making, the design and development of information technologies, such as decision support systems, may serve only to exacerbate rather than enhance the desired effect. The key objective of ongoing projects is to carry out the experimental research required for the development of critical knowledge regarding the cognitive fit between human and information system to achieve coordinated and effective cognitive work. To do so, we developed an innovative holistic approach, set in the cognitive systems engineering framework, which combines the use of complex computer simulations (microworlds) to detailed task & behavior analyses relying on non-obtrusive, on-line measures, such as eye movements and event-based measures (e.g., process-tracing approach).