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Human Mirror Neuron System Based Alarms in the Cockpit: A Neuroergonomic Evaluation

Fabre, Eve Floriane and Jahanpour, Emilie Soheila and Causse, Mickaël Human Mirror Neuron System Based Alarms in the Cockpit: A Neuroergonomic Evaluation. (2020) Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. ISSN 1090-0586

(Document in English)

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10484-020-09481-0


Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) events still remain among the deadliest accidents in aviation. When facing the possible occurrence of such an event, pilots have to immediately react to the ground proximity alarm (“Pull Up” alarm) in order to avoid the impending collision. However, the pilots’ reaction to this alarm is not always optimal. This may be at least partly due to the low visual saliency of the current alarm and the deleterious effects of stress that alleviate the pilot’s reactions. In the present study, two experiments (in a laboratory and in a flight simulator) were conducted to (1) investigate whether hand gesture videos (a hand pulling back the sidestick) can trigger brainwave frequencies related to the mirror neuron system; (2) determine whether enhancing the visual characteristics of the “Pull Up” alarm could improve pilots’ response times. Electrophysiological results suggest that hand gesture videos attracted more participants’ attention (greater alpha desynchronization in the parieto-occipital area) and possibly triggered greater activity of the mirror neuron system (greater mu and beta desynchronizations at central electrodes). Results obtained in the flight simulator revealed that enhancing the visual characteristics of the original “Pull Up” alarm improved the pilots’ reaction times. However, no significant difference in reaction times between an enlarged “Pull Up” inscription and the hand gesture video was found. Further work is needed to determine whether mirror neuron system based alarms could bring benefits for flight safety, in particular, these alarms should be assessed during a high stress context.

Item Type:Article
HAL Id:hal-03040927
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:Université de Toulouse > Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace - ISAE-SUPAERO (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:04 Dec 2020 15:00

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