Cognitive Demand of Human Sensorimotor Performance During an Extended Space Mission: A Dual-Task Study
Authors: Bock, Otmar; Weigelt, Cornelia; Bloomberg, Jacob J.
Source: Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, Volume 81, Number 9, September 2010 , pp. 819-824(6)
Publisher: Aerospace Medical Association
Abstract:Bock O, Weigelt C, Bloomberg JJ. Cognitive demand of human sensorimotor performance during an extended space mission: a dual-task study. Aviat Space Environ Med 2010; 81:819–24.
Introduction: Two previous single-case studies found that the dual-task costs of manual tracking plus memory search increased during a space mission, and concluded that sensorimotor deficits during spaceflight may be related to cognitive overload. Since dual-task costs were insensitive to the difficulty of memory search, the authors argued that the overload may reflect stress-related problems of multitasking, rather than a scarcity of specific cognitive resources. Here we expand the available database and compare different types of concurrent task. Methods: Three subjects were repeatedly tested before, during, and after an extended mission on the International Space Station (ISS). They performed an unstable tracking task and four reaction-time tasks, both separately and concurrently. Inflight data could only be obtained during later parts of the mission. Results: The tracking error increased from pre- to in flight by a factor of about 2, both under single- and dual-task conditions. The dual-task costs with a reaction-time task requiring rhythm production was 2.4 times higher than with a reaction-time task requiring visuo-spatial transformations, and 8 times higher than with a regular choice reaction-time task. Conclusions: Long-term sensorimotor deficits during spaceflight may reflect not only stress, but also a scarcity of resources related to complex motor programming; possibly those resources are tied up by sensorimotor adaptation to the space environment.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 2010
- The peer-reviewed monthly journal, Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine (ASEM) provides contact with physicians, life scientists, bioengineers, and medical specialists working in both basic medical research and in its clinical applications. It is the most used and cited journal in its field. ASEM is distributed to more than 80 nations.
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