Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems

Department

Human Factors and Systems

Committee Chair

Albert Boquet, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Jason Kring, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Guy Smith, Ed.D.

Abstract

This one way repeated measures analysis with five levels of oxygen saturation used the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Normobaric High Altitude Lab (HAL) to determine the cognitive reduction in spatial orientation and mental math ability experienced by individuals at progressively increasing levels of hypoxia, measured in blood oxygen saturation, when exposed to the FAA legal altitude of 15,000 feet. Each of the eleven participants in the study ( N = 11) were exposed to both a normoxic normobaric (nominal PO2 = 21%) environment in a conference room and hypoxic normobaric environment (PO2 = 12.21%) in the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University High Altitude Lab. Throughput manikin and throughput math were tested for each participant at normal SpO2 level, and at 2.5 minutes, 9.5 minutes, 16.5 minutes, and 23.5 minutes into exposure to the normobaric hypoxic environment in the High Altitude Lab. The primary analysis conducted revealed no decreases in mental acuity, determined by change from baseline in throughput manikin and throughput math scores. The sustained cognitive processing ability was determined through the analysis of individual change in the throughput manikin and throughput math scored met at varying blood oxygen saturations averaged over the test times during the pre-test ANAM and at 2.5 minutes, 9.5 minutes, 16.5 minutes, and 23.5 minutes into the exposure in the High Altitude Lab.

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