The effect of a helmet on cognitive performance is, at worst, marginal: A controlled laboratory study

Cornelis P. Bogerd, Ian Walker, Paul A. Brühwiler, Rene M. Rossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)
138 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The present study looked at the effect of a helmet on cognitive performance under demanding conditions, so that small effects would become more detectible. Nineteen participants underwent 30 min of continuous visual vigilance, tracking, and auditory vigilance (VTT + AVT), while seated in a warm environment (27.2 (±0.6) °C, humidity 41 (±1)%, and 0.5 (±0.1) m s wind speed). The participants wore a helmet in one session and no helmet in the other, in random order. Comfort and temperature perception were measured at the end of each session. Helmet-wearing was associated with reduced comfort (p = 0.001) and increased temperature perception (p <0.001), compared to not wearing a helmet. Just one out of nine cognitive parameters showed a significant effect of helmet-wearing (p = .032), disappearing in a post-hoc comparison. These results resolve previous disparate studies to suggest that, although helmets can be uncomfortable, any effect of wearing a helmet on cognitive performance is at worst marginal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-676
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Volume45
Issue number3
Early online date21 Oct 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2014

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