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Effects of microgravity on cognition: The case of mental imagery.

Authors
  • Grabherr, Luzia
  • Mast, Fred W
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of vestibular research : equilibrium & orientation
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2010
Volume
20
Issue
1
Pages
53–60
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3233/VES-2010-0364
PMID: 20555167
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Human cognitive performance is an important factor for the successful and safe outcome of commercial and non-commercial manned space missions. This article aims to provide a systematic review of studies investigating the effects of microgravity on the cognitive abilities of parabolic or space flight participants due to the absence of the gravito-inertial force. We will focus on mental imagery: one of the best studied cognitive functions. Mental imagery is closely connected to perception and motor behavior. It aids important processes such as perceptual anticipation, problem solving and motor simulation, all of which are critical for space travel. Thirteen studies were identified and classified into the following topics: spatial representations, mental image transformations and motor imagery. While research on spatial representation and mental image transformation continues to grow and specific differences in cognitive functioning between 1 g and 0 g have been observed, motor imagery has thus far received little attention.

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