Cognitive and Psychomotor Performance

  • D. ManzeyEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Space Life Sciences book series (BRIEFSSLS)


During space flight, astronauts are exposed to a variety of stressors. Some of these stressors originate from the specific environmental conditions in space (e.g. microgravity, radiation). Others are more unspecific and originate from living and working as member of a small crew in a confined and isolated habitat (e.g. lack of privacy, social monotony). This chapter summarizes our current knowledge about the impact of these space flight-related stressors on cognitive and psychomotor performance of astronauts. It suggests that basic cognitive processes are highly resilient and remain as efficient in space as on Earth. Similarly also processes of spatial imagery and object recognition do not seem to be affected much by the altered conditions in space. In contrast, considerable performance decrements have consistently been observed in different psychomotor tasks. These decrements seem to be caused by microgravity-induced changes of sensorimotor processes, at least during a transient period of primary adaptation to space. The available evidence pointing to impairments of executive functions and higher cognitive processes in space is less conclusive at this time.


Cognitive performance Spatial cognition Psychomotor performance Spaceflight Microgravity 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Psychology and Ergonomics, Engineering and Organisational PsychologyTechnische Universitaet BerlinBerlinGermany

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