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The cognitive responses to UK railway signals during train driving

Wright, P. (2017) The cognitive responses to UK railway signals during train driving. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

When a train driver’s error results in a red, stop signal being passed without authority there is the potential for disaster. These events are termed a “SPAD”, signal passed at danger without authority. Occasionally these incidents have led to tragedies such as the Ladbroke Grove accident in 1999. This accident led to 31 fatalities and over 523 injuries. Investigations of incidents have resulted in safety advancements that decreased the number of incidents and accidents. Despite all these efforts SPADs still occur and very little is known about the cognitive effects that the track-side signalling system has on the driver during normal operational conditions. The motivation for understanding the cognitive and behavioural effects of the routine patterns of railway signalling is to identify potential high and low risk situations. The identification of neural correlates that predict the driver’s state of readiness prior to a potentially dangerous situation. The combination of knowledge of these events and the insights into their causes could allow better systems, operational methods and logistics to be designed. This is an Electroencephalograph, (EEG) study to identify neural correlates that are used to identify high and low risk response and perceptual accuracy situations. The behavioural data is recorded from the keyboard responses and used to guide the EEG analysis. The tools applied to solving the research problem are artefact detection and removal from the EEG data, followed by analysis for patterns and features. The phase-locking functional-connectivity reveals repetition priming, antipriming, and neural precursors to correct and erroneous responses. The phase-locking for certain graph metrics are found to vary significantly prior to response errors. The EEG analysis reveals that multiple cortical region coordinated cognitive activity is required to successfully perform multiple paradigm tasks. Certain channels and regions of the brain are important in creating a cognitive state that facilitated future correct responses. Different states are required to promote response accuracy for different forthcoming events.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Nasuto, S. and Warwick, K.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Systems Engineering
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Biomedical Sciences
ID Code:75682

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