Ewch i’r prif gynnwys
Yr Athro Dylan Jones OBE BSc (Tech) PhD DSc Wales AcSS

Yr Athro Dylan Jones

OBE BSc (Tech) PhD DSc Wales AcSS


Adeilad y Tŵr, Plas y Parc, Caerdydd, CF10 3AT


Research summary

Distraction is the price we pay for being able to focus on an event of   interest while also gleaning some information from other sources of information.   This arrangement has the undoubted advantage of allowing flexibility and   adaptability – we can quickly move to new or potentially significant events –   but it does mean that extraneous events of no significance can 'capture’   attention. Distraction from sound is particularly pervasive because we are   obliged to process sound – whether we want to or not. Very low levels of sound   can be quite damaging to cognitive performance, deficits of 20-30% being   commonly found in the laboratory. Distraction seems to be a function of the   extent to which the focal task shares type of processing with the obligatory   processing of the irrelevant sound.

Short-term memory is commonly regarded as one of the fundamental building   blocks of human cognition; a processing primitive on which complex behaviours   rely, and limits to whose capacity place constraints on the speed and accuracy   of mental skill. This second theme of research seeks to question the 'processing   primitive’ status of short-term memory and instead tries to understand   short-term memory behaviour as a product of sensory-perceptual analysis and   motor planning behaviour. Key phenomena of short-term memory  -- including the   effects of word-length, phonological similarity, modality, irrelevant sound,   grouping, word frequency – are reinterpreted in terms of the character of motor   planning behaviour and the constraints of mapping perceptual organisation on   serial motor plans, as well as the complexity and error-prone nature of motor   plans


Undergraduate education

BSc (Tech) Occupational Psychology, UWIST Cardiff

Postgraduate education

PhD UWIST Cardiff

Awards/External Committees

Member, Order of the British Empire (OBE)

Fellow of the British Psychological Society (FBPS)

Academician Academy of Social Science (AcSS)

Adjunct Professor, University of Western Australia


1974-1976:  University of Oxford, Research Assistant

1976-1982:  Lecturer, Department of Applied Psychology, UWIST

1982-1988:  Senior Lecturer, Applied Psychology, UWIST

1988-1992:  Reader, University of Wales College of Cardiff

2003-2012:  Head of School of Psychology, Cardiff University

1992-present:  Professor (Personal Chair), Cardiff University





































2012-2016 SWEDISH COUCIL FOR WORKING LIFE AND SOCIAL RESEARCH Warning! Investigating factors relating to attention and performance with complex alarms in complex settings.  (Ljungberg, Parmentier, et al. and Jones,  at the University of Umea -- 456,000 Euro).

2012-2016 SWEDISH RESEARCH COUNCIL  An empirical investigation of of distraction by vibratory and auditory stimuli. Swedish Research Council (Ljungberg,  Parmentier, et al. and Jones, at the University of Umea,  372,00 Euro).

2010-2013 ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL. Embodying cognition: A perceptual-gestural account of storage in short-term memory (with Macken & Hughes, £457, 036)

2010-2011 ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL. Resisting attentional capture: The control of auditory distraction (with Hughes, £99,999)

2009-2015 AUTISM CYMRU (AND OTHERS).  Chair and Fellowship in Autism.    (£750,000).

2009-2012 ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL: Auditory distraction during   semantic processing: A process-oriented view. (£392, 345).

2007-2009 AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH COUNCIL: 'Working memory: The binding of   spatial and non-spatial features in the retention of visual and auditory   information ($A 307,000, at the University of Western Australia, with Maybery,   Van Valkenburg, Parmentier, Kubovy).

2006-2009 QINETIQ PLC.  Studentship: Auditory affordance: A link between   perception and action. (£103,000, with Macken, Singh).

2006-2009 ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL. 'Verbal short-term memory:   Primitive or parasite?’ (£305,000, with Macken)

2006-2009  ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL. Now, where was I? Cognitive   models and support mechanisms for interrupted task performance. (£193,342, with   Hodgetts).

2005-2007 WELSH ARTS COUNCIL. MindArt (£45,000 with Halligan).

2006-2011 HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING CONCIL FOR WALES. 'Wales Institute of   Cognitive Neuroscience’ (£5,190,000 Cardiff co-leader in multicentre bid (with   net of £2,000,000 to Cardiff).

2005-2006 ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL. Auditory attentional capture:   Stimulus context and task vulnerability (£45,000, with Hughes).

2005-2006 ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL. Attentional selectivity and   semantic memory: Studies of auditory distraction.’(£47,000, with Macken &   Hughes;  ESRC ref: RES-000-22-1526).

2005 MIMEX CLUSTER PROJECT. Project Bid led byGeneral Dynamics in Phase 2 of   DIF DTC. (approx £240,000, plus 27% in kind, over 2.5 years, With Patrick).

2004-2006 AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH COUNCIL. Binding in working memory ($A135,000,   with  Parmentier and Maybery).

2003-2006 MINISTRY OF DEFENCE . Designing integrated displays to support team   situation awareness. Funded under the Data and Information Fusion Defence   Technology Centre. (£225,000, with Dr. J. Patrick).

2003-2006 DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY CENTRE (General Dynamics and others) (£330, 000   with Dr. Patrick, Howes, Banbury).

2002-2005 ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL. 'Office noise: Acoustic,   cognitive and individual determinants of distraction’. (£132, 291, with   Banbury).

2002-2004 EUROCONTROL CARE INNOVATIVE ACTIONS (BY COMPETITION WITH QINETIQ   AND NLR). 'Cognitive streaming and air traffic management’  (£430, 082).

2002 QINETIQ 'Isolation of further processes that generate task interference   based on the cognitive streaming hypothesis’(£25,140, with Macken).

2001-2004 ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL. 'Organisational factors in   serial recall: The role of perceptual organisation and rehearsal’ (£170, 179,   with Macken).

2000-2002 AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH COUNCIL INTERNATIONAL RESEARCHER EXCHANGE   SCHEME. 'Spatial and verbal working memory’ ($A26,900 with Maybery and   Morrison).

1999. AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH COUNCIL. 'Working memory: Fundamental processes   common to the verbal and spatial modalities?’ ($A 7,000 with Maybery and   Cowan).

1999-2001. AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH COUNCIL. 'Auditory-spatial short-term memory’   ($A 116,000 with Maybery and Morrison).

1999-2001 DEFENCE EVALUATION AND RESEARCH AGENCY 'Task alternation as   workload’ (£96, 497 with Macken).

1999 BRITISH COUNCIL. Travel Grant (Alliance Scheme): £980

1999 BRITISH COUNCIL. Travel Grant (Alliance Scheme: Anglo French   Collaboration): £980.

1998-2001 MINISTRY OF DEFENCE CORPORATE RESEARCH FUND. 'Developing a   Cognitive Streaming model of workload’ (£256,600).

1998-2001 ENGINERRING AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL 'Case studies of   direct interaction with virtual humans in immersive design environments’   (£227,231, with Pham).

1998-2001 DEFENCE EVALUATION AND RESEARCH AGENCY. 'Studies for a cognitive   streaming model of workload’ (£140, 000).

1998-2001 DEFENCE EVALUATION AND RESEARCH AGENCY. 'Human factors aspects of   remote workstations’ (£140, 000, with Snowden, Howes).

1997-2000 DEFENCE EVALUATION AND RESEARCH AGENCY. 'Air human factors’   (£216,000).

1997-1998 ENGINEERING AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL. Navigating   discontinuous virtual worlds: The role of cognitive maps and wayfinding aids.    (£58, 000, with Howes, Payne).

1997-1998 DEFENCE EVALUATION AND RESEARCH AGENCY. Model of the performance of   environmental stressors on aircrew performance’ (£91, 750).

1996-1999 JOINT INFORMATION SYSEMS COMMITTEE OF THE RESEARCH COUNCILS 'A   networked virtual laboratory for experimental psychology’ (£288, 000 with   Howes).

1995-1998 ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL. 'Irrelevant speech and   cognitive efficiency’ (£84, 000).

1995-1996 HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING COUNCIL FOR WALES. 'Virtual environment   laboratory’, (£60,000).

1995 THE BRITISH COUNCIL. 'The irrelevant speech effect: Working memory and   noise effects upon performance’ (£2,000).

1994-1995: DEFENCE RESEARCH AGENCY. 'Optimisation of connected word speech   recognition with the crew station demonstrator facility’, (£14,100).

1994-1995 DEFENCE RESEARCH AGENCY. 'Stereopsis and colour in HMD and HUD   systems’ (£97,100 and £34,600, with Snowden).

1994-1995 DEFENCE RESEARCH AGENCY 'Studies of the factor structure of   workload’, (£133,700 and £8,400 with Tattersall).

1993-1995: ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL.  'Cognitive aspects of   auditory distraction’, (£58,100).

1993-1995: DEFENCE RESEARCH AGENCY (Royal Aerospace Establishment,   Farnborough) 'Multiple task performance and the prediction of workload’,   (£63,872 Tattersall).

1992-1995: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE (Army Personnel Research Establishment).   'Cognitive processes in planning, plan behaviour and monitoring', (£169,748,   with Tattersall, Payne).

1992-1993: DEFENCE RESEARCH AGENCY (Royal Aerospace Establishment,   Farnborough) 'Task combination, workload and the assessment of task   interference', (£26,700, with Tattersall).

1991-1994: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE. 'Speech recognition — Feedback and dialogue   design’, (£116,000).

1990-1992: ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL. 'Multi-modal person   identification: Interaction effects of face, name and voice recognition',   (£41,470, with Ellis).

1990-1992: ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL. 'Cross-modal interference by   speech: Factors affecting privileged access to memory', (£29,000).

1990-1992: DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION. 'Human factors in auditory   interfaces', (£225,000).

1989-1992: DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION. 'Human factors of voice   annotation', (Studentship and equipment donation) (£45,000).

1989-1991:  MINISTRY OF DEFENCE. 'Human factors in multi-modal dialogues',   (£62,000).

1988-1991:  MINISTRY OF DEFENCE.  'Human factors in the design of command and   control systems', (£283,000).

1988-1990:  DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION (UK).  'Human factors of mixed   modality', (£62,000, with  Miles).

1988-1989: The Trade Union APEX. 'Computers in the workplace: A human factors   analysis', (£16,900).

1986-1989:  SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING RESEARCH COUNCIL.  'Human factors in the   design of speech systems interfaces'. (£456,000).

1986-1989:  ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL. 'Interference of   proofreading and short-term memory by irrelevant speech', (£31,006, with   Miles).

1985-1988:  MINISTRY OF DEFENCE.  'Human information processing under high   work-load' (£157,124).

1985-1986:  THE EUROPEAN FOUNDATION. 'Impact of new technology in the health   services', (£19,376).

1984-1987:  THE POST OFFICE.  'Human factors in coding desk operation',   (£116,000).

1982-1986:  MAY AND BAKER LTD.  'Effects of beta blockers on performance and   mood', (£25,000).

1982-1983:  THE EUROPEAN FOUNDATION.  'Stress of new technology in posts and   telecommunications', (£11,950).

1980-1983:  DHSS. 'Subjective tinnitus and the effectiveness of tailored   masking', (£35,000, with Slater).

1978-1980:  SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH COUNCIL. 'Social aspects and   after-effects of performance in loud noise', (£9,986, with Chapman).

Research group

Helen Hodgett
Bill   Macken
David   Maidment

Research collaborators

Sebastien Tremblay , University   of Laval, Quebec, Canada
Fabrice Parmentier,   University of the Balearics, Majorca, Spain
Phillip   Beaman, University of Reading
Murray   Maybery, University of Western Australia
Patrik   Sörqvist, Centre for Built Environment, University of Gävle, Gävle,   Sweden


Postgraduate research interests

1) Auditory distraction and attentional capture, especially the effects of   perceptual organizational processes on cognition, particularly short-term   memory.
2) Serial short-term memory, particularly distinctions between   spatial and verbal memory.
3) The role of auditory perceptual organization   in phenomena ordinarily ascribed to auditory buffer storage.

If you are interested in applying for a PhD, or for further information  regarding my postgraduate research, please contact me directly (contact details available on the 'Overview' page), or submit a formal application.

Current students

A. St John (secondary supervision)

Previous students

R. Thomas, SERC, PhD 1983 - Director, Fire Research Program, National   Research Council, Canada
C.   Miles, University, PhD 1983  now Senior Lecturer Cardiff University
J. Williams,   ESRC, PhD 1987   now Professor Cardiff University
A. Kechroud, Algerian Govt., PhD 1986    now Professor Saudi Arabia
T.   C. Auburn, Research Staff, PhD 1987  now Principal Lecturer Plymouth University
S. Kilminster, May and   Baker Ltd, PhD 1987  now Company Director Pharmacology Research
D.   Clark, SERC, PhD 1989  now Industry Programme Manager, European Bioinformatics Unit, Cambridge
C. Madden, Research Staff, MPhil 1989
K.   Coyle, NI DoE, PhD 1990  now lecturer University of Ulster
J. Bradshaw, ESRC, PhD 1991
G. Chamberlain,   MPhil 1992 - Head of Human Factors Research, Post Office Research, Swindon – now   retired
J. Pollock, CASE, PhD 1993
P.   Tucker, Digital Ltd, PhD 1993   now Senior Lecturer, University of Swansea
G. Stuart, SERC, PhD 1995  now Senior Lecturer York St John University
A.   Murray, Research Staff, PhD 1995  now Principal Lecturer, UWIC
P.   Farrand, University of Wales, PhD 1996  now Senior Teaching Fellow, University of Exeter
A. Bridges, ESRC, PhD   1997 now Professor and Dean Central Queensland University
P. Brawn, SERC, PhD 1998  now Director 'Eyetracker' Sydney Australia
P. Beaman,   University of Wales, PhD 1998  now Senior Lecturer, University of Reading
W.   Macken, Research Staff, PhD 1998  now Reader, Cardiff University
N. Mosdell, Research Staff, MPhil   1998*  now Senior Lecturer Cardiff University
R. Ruddle, Research   Staff, PhD 1998  now Senior Lecturer University of Leeds
G. Rogers, British   Aerospace, MPhil 1998  now consultant Kaisen Consulting
C.   Cowley, Research Staff, PhD 1999  now Senior Lecturer University of Bournemouth
M. Doyle, CASE, PhD1998 *   Royal Holloway and Bedford College, University of London
S. Tremblay, ORS, PhD 1999  now Professor University of Laval
D. Alford,   BBSRC CASE, PhD 1999  now freelance researcher
F.   Parmentier, ESRC, PhD 2000  now Professor University of Ballearics
A. Nicholls, BBSRC, PhD 2001  - Research Manager Nite-Works and Qinetic plc
R.   Houghton, EPSRC CASE PhD 2002* now Research Fellow University of Manchester
R. Hughes, ESRC Competition, PhD   2003   now Lecturer Cardiff University
H. Hodgetts, Cardiff University, PhD 2005  now Researcher University of Laval
P.   Morgan, ESRC Competition Award, PhD 2005   now Senior Lecturer University of Newport
G. Green, BBSRC CASE PhD   2005* now researcher Cardiff University
A Woodward, Cardiff University staff, PhD 2006*   now Research Associate Cardiff University
G. Lloyd, Cardiff   University, MSc 2006*
J.   Marsh, Cardiff University, PhD 2006   now Research Associate Cardiff University
J. Burton, Cardiff University, PhD 2011
M.   Kozlov (secondary supervision)