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Stress and Cognition

Final Report

STRESS AND COGNITION: A COGNITIVE
PSYCHOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Grant Number NAG2-1561
Lyle E. Bourne, Jr. and Rita A. Yaroush
February 1, 2003

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Stress and Cognition

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Outline
Stress and Cognition: A Cognitive Psychological Perspective
Introduction
Cognition in Emergency and other Abnormal Situations
Acute and Chronic Stress
Teamwork under Emergencies
The Purpose of this Review
Preliminary Guidelines from Cognitive Psychology
An Example
Research Methods
Measures of Stress Effects
Neuro-physiological Measures of Stress
Self- report Measures
Performance or Behavioral Measures
Conclusions
Definitions of Stress
Theories of Stress and Cognition
Conclusions
Arousal and Performance.
Motivation and Arousal
Stress and Arousal
Stress States: Qualitative Effects of Stress
Conclusions
Appraisal
Conclusions
Attention and Perception
Inhibition and Attention
Perception and Cue Utilization
Vigilance
Conclusions

Stress and Cognition

Memory
General Stress Effects on Memory.
Cortisol and other Neuro-biological Considerations..
Context And State Dependency involving Stress.
Other Considerations
A Memory Constriction Hypothesis
Conclusions
Environmental Conditions that Induce Stress
Time Pressure
Work Load and Overload
Fatigue and Sleep Deprivation
Noise
Ambient Temperature
Miscellaneous Stress Variables: Extreme Environments
Conclusions
Individual Differences Variables
Trait Anxiety and Stress
Other Personality Variables
Health and Coping Styles
Conclusions
Stress Countermeasures
Task Conditions
Stress Management
Conclusions
Other Reviews of the Literature
Summary and Conclusions
References

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Stress and Cognition

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Stress and Cognition: A Cognitive Psychological Perspective
Lyle E. Bourne, Jr. and Rita A. Yaroush
University of Colorado
Complex operations can be performed successfully in Space by human beings, but more slowly than doing the same tasks on Earth (Fowler, Comfort & Bock, 2000; Watt, 1997)), Fowler, et al. (2000) and Manzey (2000) propose two hypotheses to account for this performance degradation—(1) the direct effects of microgravity on the central nervous system and the motor system of the body and (2) the non-specific effects of multiple stressors. Evidence available to date is consistent with both hypotheses and further experiments are required to settle this question. The issue has practical implications because the countermeasures needed to ameliorate or prevent performance deficits will differ according to which hypothesis is correct. Understanding and ameliorating performance deficits will surely help ensure safer operations aboard the International Space Station and during a mission to Mars.

Introduction
To the extent that the effects of multiple stressors are involved in the degradation of human performance in Space, as suggested by the results of Watt (1997) among others, cognitive psychology can help solve the problem. In a retrospective piece, Rapmund (2002) describes how 20 years of experience working in the Pentagon convinced him of the need for a greater understanding of human behavior and of human-machine interactions to improve military operations. Wastell and Newman (1996) have argued that a well-designed military system should realize the twin aims of enhancing human performance and lowering stress. Success in this endeavor, they demonstrate, depends on the degree of support and controllability the system affords the operator. Cognitive psychologists study things that people do in their heads and how they subsequently perform based on those mental operations. Cognitive psychology is largely an academic discipline and a basic science, concerned primarily with (a) identifying analytically the fundamental components of mental life, such as attention and its allocation, memory systems, problem solving, decision making and the like, (b)...
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