Assessment of Cognitive Abilities in Simulated Space Ascent Environments
The cognitive abilities of some astronauts are affected during spaceflight. We investigated whether a simulated space flight ascent environment, including vibration and 3.8 Gx ascent forces, would result in cognitive deficits detectable by the WinSCAT test battery. Eleven participants were administered the computerized cognitive test battery, a workload rating questionnaire and a subjective state questionnaire before and after a combination of acceleration plus vibration conditions. The acceleration plus vibration exposure resulted in significant self-reports of physical discomfort but did not significantly affect cognitive test battery scores. We discuss ways in which a cognitive assessment tool could be made more sensitive to subtle cognitive changes relevant to astronaut performance.