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Investigation of the effects and aftereffects of naturally occurring upper respiratory tract illnesses on mood and performance

Hall, Sara and Smith, Andrew Paul 1996. Investigation of the effects and aftereffects of naturally occurring upper respiratory tract illnesses on mood and performance. Physiology & Behavior 59 (3) , pp. 569-577. 10.1016/0031-9384(95)02112-4

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Abstract

This study examined the effects and aftereffects of naturally occurring upper respiratory tract illnesses on mood and performance. Twenty-six subjects (12 males, 14 females, mean age 23 years 10 months, age range 18–39 years) were tested once a week for a period of a month. Fifteen subjects were suffering from a common cold on the first week and the other 11 subjects were matched healthy controls. Subjects attended for an initial 3-h testing period that consisted of a set of practice trials and two test sessions involving mood rating and performance of a battery of tests measuring psychomotor functions, attention, and memory. Sessions 3, 4, and 5 took place 1, 2, and 3 weeks later, respectively. In addition to measuring mood and mental performance, symptom severity was rated on a subjective checklist. The results showed that subjects with a cold reported an increase in negative mood and that this was only significant in the first week. Impairments of psychomotor function (simple reaction time and tracking) were also observed at this time. Performance of sustained and selective attention tasks was also impaired in subjects with colds but this effect was only significant in the second week. Other functions such as working and semantic memory were unimpaired in subjects with colds at any point in the experiment. Overall, the present results confirm many of the earlier results obtained in studies of experimentally induced upper respiratory tract illnesses. Indeed, these results are both of great practical importance and theoretical interest and further studies must now elucidate the mechanisms underlying these effects.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Common cold; Upper respiratory tract illness; Performance; Mood; Postviral effects
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0031-9384
Last Modified: 03 May 2019 15:10
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/34702

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