ABSTRACT: Effects of intermittent presentation of odours on cognitive-motor performance and brain activity during mental fatigue were examined using event-related brain potentials. Participants performed a Go/NoGo task for 60 min, in both odour and air control conditions. The time-on-task reaction time increase was significantly smaller in the odour condition than in the air control condition. Go- and NoGo-P3 amplitudes were larger in the presence of odours than during the air control, during mental fatigue. There were no effects of odours on error negativity (Ne)/error-related negativity (ERN) amplitude and latency. These results suggest that the presence of intermittent odours improves attentional/effortful control of response selection, and that this effect mitigates the deterioration of cognitive-motor performance during mental fatigue. PRACTITIONER SUMMARY: The present study provides evidence for a potentially effective strategy, the use of odours, to mitigate deficits in cognitive-motor performance during time-on-task. The results show that the presence of intermittent odours is an efficient tool for maintenance of attention and reaction time during a prolonged task.
Ergonomics 01/2012; 55(1):1-11. · 1.41 Impact Factor