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Thesis Sarah KHAZAZ


From 12 January 2020 to 31 December 2023

Toward the Unique Goal of Exit Signs : Being Perceived & Followed

Recent studies have reported that during a stress-hazard situation, emergency evacuation systems for buildings including emergency lighting, are not always readily perceived and monitored by evacuators. However, the human stakes of a well guided and successful evacuation are considerable.
At present, these studies (1) do not consider populations with various disabilities (motor, sensory, mental) or extreme age (children or elderly dependent (2)but essentially test the visual affordance (3) do not measure and model the effect of psychological stress related to evacuation on the detection, nor do they measure the understanding and application of an evacuation instruction issued by a lighting panel (4) they do not explain the neurocognitive mechanisms involved when choosing an emergency evacuation way and do not quantify the effect of evacuation signage characteristics on the cerebral processing of information.
This thesis project is part of the desire of a market-leading security lighting manufacturer to pursue research aimed at improving the affordance of evacuation luminaires in order to increase their efficiency. The work will help to better understand and specify the psychophysical, behavioral and neurophysiological mechanisms that determine the detection, understanding and application of an evacuation instruction provided by a safety lighting fixture.
As a first step, our research will focus on the characteristics of safety lighting fixtures that have the greatest impact on sensory perception, that is, those that most significantly activate the mechanisms of peripheral and central vision. Thus, these data will enable us to determine the characteristics that most effectively orient the attentional focus of the evacuators towards the evacuation signals. Our work, in a second time, will be to study the effect of the psychological stress on the perception of the characteristics, in order to consider the modifications of sensory perception generated by the stress associated with an emergency situation (eg., fire, alert attacks). But also, to prioritize the importance of stimuli according to the mechanisms of perception, especially visual retinal and central channels, which will also identify potential areas of improvement for particular populations (eg., people with AMD who lose central vision, people with chronic glaucoma who lose peripheral vision, colorblind, people with lateral hemianopia). The identification of important psychophysical parameters will be complemented by a functional neuroimaging experiment that will help to understand the mechanisms involved in the detection, understanding and application of the instructions according to the parameters identified and to develop theoretical models of cognition.
From a fundamental point of view, all these observations will make it possible to determine the nature of the perception-action coupling during an evacuation task, and to establish explanatory neurocognitive models, notably the role of the various central pathways of the vision involved (retino-geniculo-striated vs. retino-subcortical) and the influence of brain tonsils. Ultimately, these results will make it possible to propose recommendations for the design of evacuation lighting luminaires and to promote a modification of the current standards for the design of emergency lighting for a better consideration of the human factor.

Supervisors :
- Martial MERMILLOD - (martial[dot]mermillod[at]univ-grenoble-alpes[dot]fr)
- Sébastien POINT - 0381666738 - (sebastien[dot]point[at]cnrs[dot]fr)
- LAURIE MONDILLON - 473406107 - (Laurie[dot]MONDILLON[at]uca[dot]fr)
- Pierre-Olivier DEFAY - (Pierre-OlivierDefay[at]Eaton[dot]com)

keywords : Fear processing,Vision and attention,Emergency egress,Exit signs,Affordances,


From 12 January 2020 to 31 December 2023


Convention CIFRE Cooper Sécurité SAS (groupe Eaton) et ANRT

Submitted on 17 November 2023

Updated on 17 November 2023