Combined Effects of Altitude and High Temperature on Complex Performance
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION OKLAHOMA CITY OK CIVIL AEROMEDICAL INST
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Nine well-trained subjects were tested on a complex performance device designed to assess functions of relevance to aircrew activities. The tests, which involved tracking, monitoring, and mental arithmetic, were performed during exposure to altitude 14,000 feet and heat 60 C. both singly and in combination. Several physiological measures were taken. Exposure durations were 30 minutes for each condition with both pre- and post-testing. The only clear-cut effects of the conditions were significant differences across the environmental conditions on a perceptual-motor tracking task related to manual aircraft control. Altitude was clearly a more powerful variable than temperature in this study. This was evidenced by the fact that performance under the temperature-plus-altitude and the altitude-only conditions were approximately the same performance under the temperature-only condition was significantly better than performance for either of the other two conditions. There was some evidence that the two environments in combination produced a persistent effect on performance that did not dissipate with return to normal conditions. Measured physiological functions of the subjects were within the tolerable range.
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