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Multi-Task Performance at Sea-Level and High Altitude
ARMY RESEARCH INST OF ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE NATICK MA
Pagination or Media Count:
Warfighter exposure to high terrestrial altitude continues to be a reality for the modern fighting force. Understanding the negative effects of altitude on cognitive performance is essential as the cognitive demands of many warfighting tasks are becoming increasingly complex. To date, little research has investigated the performance of multiple cognitive tasks in a high altitude environment. The work reported here was designed to investigate the performance of Soldiers on a multi-task cognitive assessment at sea-level and high altitude 4300m both before hypobaric chamber and after terrestrial altitude living for six days at moderate altitude 2200m. Results indicate that multi-task performance declined during initial, unacclimatized high altitude exposure compared to sea-level. In contrast, performance at high altitude after staging did not differ from sea-level. While these results suggest that the stay at moderate altitude produced acclimatization which worked to sustain cognitive performance, the effects of task learning and individual differences in response to altitude are also discussed.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE