Soutenance de thèse

Temporal Disorientation of Metro Travellers

Informations pratiques
31 mai 2024

ENS - Département d’Etudes Cognitives (salle Emile Borel - U203), 29 rue d’Ulm 75005 Paris       



  •  M. Roberto Casati (Directeur de thèse), EHESS
  •  Mme Sonia Adelé, Université Gustave Eiffel
  •  Mme Valérie Gyselinck, Université Gustave Eiffel
  •  M. John Sutton, Macquarie University
  •  Mme Virginie van Wassenhove, Université Paris-Saclay

Temporal Disorientation of Metro Travellers (CIFRE with RATP Group)

Metro travellers experience disorientation during unexpected traffic disruptions, such as service interruptions due to forgotten luggage. We first explore the structure of these disorientations and the general experience of metro travel. We posit that the fundamentally temporal experience of disorientation during unexpected disruptions shares functional underpinnings with spatial disorientation and manifests across various degrees of consciousness. We argue that the metro experience embodies liminality, characterised by the margins of urban temporal, spatial, and social structures. These theoretical frameworks are further explored through three empirical studies. By administering psychometric questionnaires during disruptions, we reveal that passengers’ disorientation is marked by a temporal dilation, essentially linked to the sense of agency. We also uncover how memories of disorientation experiences are compressed and distorted over time (study 1). We then validate an instrument to measure the transparency of disruption descriptions, enabling us to identify possible improvements in service quality (study 2). Finally, we generate an innovative dataset comprising hundreds of thousands of passenger responses to disruption announcements, which we analyse using a large language model and a phenomenological approach. The experience of disorientation, while secondary in the metro experience, articulates a three-stage emotional dynamic – perplexity, helplessness, anxiety – to which passenger information must respond (study 3).