Change in strategy of solving psychological tests: evidence of nitrogen narcosis in shallow air-diving.

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Change in strategy of solving psychological tests: evidence of nitrogen narcosis in shallow air-diving.

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Title: Change in strategy of solving psychological tests: evidence of nitrogen narcosis in shallow air-diving.
Author: Petri, NM
Abstract: The depths from 10 to 30 m are usually not considered narcotic in scuba air-diving, and evidence of psychomotor disturbances attributable to nitrogen narcosis at these depths is weak and contradictory. 15 experienced male divers were tested in a chamber at 1, 2, 3, and 4 bars over five consecutive days using a battery of computer generated psychological tests-Computerized Reactionmeter Drenovac (CRD-series). Total test solving time, minimal single task solving time, total "ballast" time, and total number of errors were recorded. Nitrogen narcosis effects were evident at all hyperbaric pressures with marked performance differences among subjects. MANOVA revealed significant effects of nitrogen partial pressure for groups of the same variables as follows: total test solving time (p < 0.001), total "ballast" time (p < 0.001), and total number of errors (p = 0.038), but not for minimal single task solving time. ANOVA showed significant effects of pressure only on tests of visual discrimination of signal location (total test solving time: p = 0.012, total "ballast" time: p < 0.001), simple convergent visual orientation (total test solving time: p = 0.012), and convergent thinking (total test solving time: p = 0.002, total number of errors: p = 0.049). The order of the pressure exposures had no influence on subject performance. Impaired psychomotor processing found during air exposures from 2 to 4 bars suggests that nitrogen narcosis at depths usually considered safe from its effects might be a problem in underwater operations that require accuracy, speed, limited time of performance, and complex psychomotor skills.
Description: Undersea & Hyperbaric Medicine : Journal of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc.
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/3976
Date: 2003

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