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Hum Factors. 1993 Jun;35(2):329-44.

Cognitive function at high altitude.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, Champaign 61820.


The effects of altitude on human performance and cognition were evaluated in a field study performed on Mount Denali in Alaska during the summer of 1990. Climbers performed a series of perceptual, cognitive, and sensory-motor tasks before, during, and after climbing the West Buttress route on Denali. Relative to a matched control group that performed the tasks at sea level, the climbers showed deficits of learning and retention in perceptual and memory tasks. Furthermore, climbers performed more slowly on most tasks than did the control group, suggesting long-term deficits that may be attributed to repeated forays to high altitudes.

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