The Effects of Background Noise on Cognitive Performance During a 70 Hour Simulation of Conditions Aboard the International Space Station

Noise Health. Oct-Dec 2003;6(21):3-16.


A total of twenty-five subjects were cloistered for a period of 70 hours, five at a time, in a hyperbaric chamber modified to simulate the conditions aboard the International Space Station (ISS). A recording of 72 dBA background noise from the ISS service module was used to simulate noise conditions on the ISS. Two groups experienced the background noise throughout the experiment, two other groups experienced the noise only during the day, and one control group was cloistered in a quiet environment. All subjects completed a battery of cognitive tests nine times throughout the experiment. The data showed little or no effect of noise on reasoning, perceptual decision-making, memory, vigilance, mood, or subjective indices of fatigue. Our results suggest that the level of noise on the space station should not affect cognitive performance, at least over a period of several days.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Astronauts
  • Attention
  • Cognition*
  • Fatigue
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Noise / adverse effects*
  • Space Flight
  • Spacecraft*
  • Task Performance and Analysis