Christiane Glatz

Alumni of the Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action
Alumni of the Group Cognition and Control in Human-Machine Systems
Alumni of the Group Motion Perception and Simulation


PhD Student

Supervisors at Max-Planck: and

I’m currently working in the group and co-supervised by Paolo Pretto who leads the group.

Automation has freed operators from many tasks including steering. Nevertheless, humans are still in control of vehicles which motivates the research, design, and development to optimize the interactions between humans and machines. When focusing on a primary steering task, it is easy to leave peripheral events unnoticed. Warning signals are a way of enhancing situational awareness in control conditions. In my research, I investigate how auditory warning signals influence operator’s behavior as well as how these signals are processed in the brain.


The steadfast interest in the human brain and the human machine interaction motivated me to study Cognitive Science, an interdisciplinary career that combines studies of computer science and mathematics with neurobiology and cognitive psychology. Following this, I graduated in 2014 from the University of Tübingen with a Master's degree in Neural and Behavioral Sciences. During my master studies I started working on directing attention using auditory cues in the Cognition and Control in Man-Machine Systems group. During my current PhD I extended my research on attention direction during steering.

Selected publications:
  • Attention Enhancement During Steering Through Auditory Warning Signals Workshop on Adaptive Ambient In-Vehicle Displays and Interactions In conjuction with AutomotiveUI (2015)
  • Warning Signals With Rising Profiles Increase Arousal Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting (2015)

Trust in Automation and Attention Enhancement during Steering

Through attention we are able to focus our perception and actions on a certain task so that information that is irrelevant to the primary goal can be ignored. The backside of this is that we can fail to notice critical and prominent events when our mind is engaged elsewhere (Hillyard & Münte, 1984; Posner, 1980). When, for example, multitasking, our situational awareness is presumably in a poor state. That is, we are not able to extract elements from the environment and estimate their relevance for the “acting in the near future” (Endsley, 1988).

To address the need for effective and meaningful warnings, researchers have invested effort into developing ecologically valid signals that are intuitively salient. That is, stimuli are increasingly designed to approximate the real-world and to be representative of everyday life (Brewer, 2000). For a moving, sound-emitting object a sound's perceived intensity increases as the object is approaching. This looming characteristic of increasing intensity corresponds to the object’s time-to-contact.

Using EEG and psychophysics, I address the question: what causes a human operator to trust in auditory or multimodal looming warning signals for critical, non-primary targets? I will investigate the factors that contribute to an effective warning system. Factors that could cause operators to rely more on an alerting system include for instance system’s reliability and natural sound characteristics.

Project 1: Investigation of different visual target presentation times to find out when signals are most effective

Project 2: Trust in (unreliable) warning systems

Project 3: Extension of the paradigm to include multisensory looming alerts

Project 4: Introduce looming signals where participants experience forward acceleration


10/2009 - 08/2012       Bachelor of Cognitive Sciences, University Osnabrück

10/2012 - 05/2014       Master of Neural and Behavioral Science, Graduate Training Centre of Neuroscience, University Tübingen

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