The Effects of Energy Drinks on Cognitive Ability

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Lucas, Marlon
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Middle Tennessee State University
Fatigue problems have been widespread in the air traffic control industry; in past years a common practice among air traffic controllers has been to consume highly caffeinated beverages to maintain awareness and thwart sleep deprivation. This study sought to examine what impact the consumption of an energy drink had on Air Traffic Control Collegiate Training Initiative students at Middle Tennessee State University to solve Air Traffic Selection and Training Battery Applied Math type test problems. Participants consumed a Red Bull energy drink or a placebo and then were asked to complete speed, time, distance, and rate of climb and descent rates questions in addition to answering questions regarding their perception of energy drinks. An appropriate statistical analysis was applied to compare scores of participants. The experimental group which received the energy drink averaged slightly lower (M=77.27, SD=19.79) than the control group, which consumed the placebo beverage (M=81.5, SD=19.01), but this difference was not statistically significant.