Neurocognitive performance is enhanced during short periods of microgravity—Part 2

Petra Wollseiffen, Timo Klein, Tobias Vogt, Vera Abeln, Heiko K. Strüder, Tim Stuckenschneider, Marit Sanders, Jurgen A.H.R. Claassen, Christopher D. Askew, Heather Carnahan, Stefan Schneider*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies showed a decrease in reaction time during the weightlessness phase of a parabolic flight. This effect was found to be stronger with increasing task complexity and was independent of previous experience of weightlessness as well as anti-nausea medication. Analysis of event related potentials showed a decreased amplitude of the N100-P200 complex in weightlessness but was not able to distinguish a possible effect of task complexity. The present study aimed to extend this previous work, by comparing behavioral (reaction time)and neurological (event related potentials analysis)performance to a simple (oddball)and a complex (mental arithmetic + oddball)task during weightlessness. 28 participants participated in two experiments. 11 participants performed a simple oddball experiment in the 1G and 0G phases of a parabolic flight. 17 participants were presented a complex arithmetic task in combination with an oddball task during the 1G and 0G phases of a parabolic flight. Reaction time as well as event related potentials (ERP)were assessed. Results revealed a reduced reaction time (p <.05)for the complex task during 0G. No gravity effects on reaction time were found for the simple task. In both experiments a reduction of typical ERP amplitudes was noticeable in weightlessness. It is assumed that the weightlessness induced fluid shift to the brain is positively affecting neuro-behavioral performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-54
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug 1


  • EEG
  • ERP
  • Electro-cortical processing
  • Oddball
  • Parabolic flight
  • Reaction time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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