The Effects of Atropine Sulfate on Aviator Performance
Final rept. 15 May 1983-14 Sep 1984
ILLINOIS UNIV AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN SAVOYAVIATION RESEARCH LAB
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The purpose of the present study was to determine the effect of atropine sulfate on pilot performance, as measured in a flight simulator, and to investigate physiological correlates of this effect. The six dependent measures of flying the simulator using standard instrument procedures indicated the significant effects of atropine and the time course of the effects. A monotonic increase in the effects of atropine was found between the 0.5 and the 4.0 mg levels of atropine. The most significant effect was due to the 4.0 mg level. For the Sternberg secondary task, reaction time and accuracy showed no atropine effects. Mean heart period MHP, hear period variance HPV, and V RSA amplitude showed the effects of atropine sulfate and the time course of the effect. It was concluded that the 4.0 mg level of atropine produced significant performance decrements and increased the risk of error when performing complex pilot tasks. The performance effects were found to lag the physiological effects. Operational implications of the time lag were discussed. Keywords Sternberg task chemical warfare organophosphate compounds instrument flight tasks.