The Polish Journal of Aviation Medicine, Bioengineering and Psychology

Kwartalnik Polskiego Towarzystwa Medycyny Lotniczej

2015, Volume 21, Issue 1

Hypoxia Exposure and Working Memory Performance: a Meta - Analysis

1Institute of Psychology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

Autor korenspondencyjny: Marta MOLIŃSKA; Institute of Psychology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań; email: m.j.molinska[at]gmail.com

DOI: 10.13174/pjamp.21.01.2015.02

Full text


Working memory (WM) is an essential component of situational awareness concept as well as one of the main executive functions in cognitive psychology. Exposure to hypoxia may affect those functions and damage working memory function that could have an impact on flight safety.
A meta-analysis was conducted to assess the association of hypoxia effects and executive functions, particularly the WM. The studies under consideration were conducted on pilots and non-pilots performing cognitive tasks that engage working memory before and after exposure to hypoxia.
The meta-analysis revealed a large effect size (Hedges’ g=1.75) but a distribution of particular studies presented in this paper show that larger effects are observed in studies on non-pilots, whereas small effect was observed in the pilot groups.
Discussion and Conslusions:
Influence of oxygen depravation on WM capacity was observed. Although the overall effect size was impressive indicating differences in WM capacity before and after hypoxia exposure, there is a need for discussing the results obtained in pilots and non-pilots separately and concern the role of experience and learning effects.

Słowa kluczowe

cognitive performance, hypoxia, executive functions, situational awareness, working memory