YPIE Scientist: Kevin

Research: Dietary Effects on Cognitive Thinking for Pilots

Mentor: Scott Schechter


A balanced diet provides a person with essential nutrients to maintain organs, improve bodily functions, and mainly supply energy. Cognitive thinking is a term referring to the mental processes involved in gaining knowledge and comprehension and include conscious and unconscious processes. The outstanding performance of expert pilots are derived from how their knowledge is structured in short and long term memory for retrieval, pattern recognition and inference. 15 participants were volunteered and were chosen for the experiment. These participants then took a behavioral survey and following that was a rhombus reaction test, they then were fed a certain food group; protein, fat or carbohydrate. Participants then waited for the food to digest and had taken the previous rhombus reaction test following with the previous behavioral survey. This experiment was done with one day intervals for 3 days. An interpretation test revealed that the high-protein and high-fat classes rendered considerably less mistakes than the high-carbohydrate community, while having significantly lower percentages. RT success ratings for volunteers eating high-protein and high-fat diets were slightly higher than scores for pilots eating high-carbohydrate diets, according to data gathered from both classes. Recorded results on the reaction test show that reaction times were higher in a high certainty than in a low certainty reaction test . Physiological findings revealed that during the financially stimulated condition, heart rate was higher than in the neutral condition, indicating that the financial reward elicited significant emotional arousal. Pilots who eat a high-protein, high-fat diet have higher cognitive flight performance scores than pilots who eat a high-carbohydrate diet, may have occupational implications, showing once again that our null hypothesis is supported.

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