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After-effects of the common cold on mood and performance

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The present study examined whether volunteers who had recently had common colds showed impairments in mood and performance in the weeks following the illness. All volunteers (n = 24) were tested when healthy to provide baseline data for simple and choice reaction time tasks, attention and memory tasks and ratings of mood. When participants developed a cold (n = 13) they returned to the laboratory so that the illness could be verified. When they were symptom free they returned to the laboratory and repeated the procedure. They then completed the study with a final session 1 week later. Volunteers (n = 11) who remained healthy over 10 weeks were recalled as controls and also repeated the procedures. The results showed that those who had recently had colds showed few impairments in mental performance and mood. Taken together with the results of previous studies, this suggests that after-effects of viral infection are largely restricted to severe illnesses such as infectious mononucleosis and influenza. After-effects of colds may occur but these probably reflect poor learning at the time of the illness.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: for Occupational and Health Psychology, School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Tower Building, PO Box 901, Cardiff CF1 3YG, UK

Publication date: September 1, 2000

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