Studies of Fatigue and Human Performance in the Laboratory

  • Michael H. Bonnet
  • Donna L. Arand


Many laboratory studies of fatigue and performance have been done in the last 100 years. Most have examined changes in performance at different times of the day and night (circadian time) or after various types of sleep loss. In general, psychomotor performance declines during early morning hours and improves during the normal day. Performance also declines as time awake increases. These general rules are modified by a number of factors. Certain performance tests such as those requiring vigilance, reaction time, and working memory appear most sensitive to fatigue. However, performance is also modulated by several variables including the length of performance requirement, knowledge of results, and task proficiency level. Performance is also dependent upon environmental influences such as activity level, light level, posture, motivation, and availability of naps and drugs. Finally the close relationship between sleep, fatigue, and performance breaks down in sleep disorders or other situations where the continuity of sleep is destroyed.


Sleep Sleep deprivation Partial sleep deprivation Multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) Psychomotor performance Simple reaction time Circadian rhythm 



This work was supported by the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine and the Sleep-Wake Disorders Research Institute.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael H. Bonnet
    • 1
  • Donna L. Arand
    • 2
  1. 1.Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Kettering Sycamore Sleep Disorders CenterMiamisburgUSA
  2. 2.Kettering Health NetworkDaytonUSA

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