Human Psychomotor Performance Under the Exposure to Mobile Phones-Like Electromagnetic Fields

Human Psychomotor Performance Under the Exposure to Mobile Phones-Like Electromagnetic Fields

Giuseppe Curcio (University of L'Aquila, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7598-6.ch067
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The first studies on humans addressing cognitive functioning changes as a consequence of radiofrequency (RF) EMFs exposure date back to almost 20 years ago. The effects on human behavior showed in those pioneering works indicated an improvement of performance under the exposure to the signal, compared with sham exposure. These first and striking results were not fully replicated by subsequent studies that were characterized by a more methodological robustness and attention to exposure aspects. In accordance with this view, latest reviews and metanalyses have confirmed the paucity of evidence and the lack of reliability of psychomotor and cognitive effects of acute RF EMF exposure on human volunteers, particularly when assessed in well controlled laboratory settings. Thus, despite the public opinion about potential biologic effects of acute RF EMFs irradiation, it can be concluded that to date there is substantial lack of evidence about a negative influence of non-ionizing radiations on cognitive functioning in humans.
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Most of the included studies entail mobile phone-like signals or base station-like signals as well as other types of EM signals. This review will focus on experimental provocation studies with human volunteers, most of them being carried out as laboratory studies. Only laboratory studies focused on cognitive and psychomotor effects of mobile phone-like EMFs emissions will be taken into consideration. Here, only studies published in the last 20 years and focusing on mobile phone-like emissions will be considered as relevant. To this respect, we will also provide a qualitative overview of the most recent studies published up to 2015.

Pioneer attempt to study human psychomotor performance was undertaken by Koivisto et al. (2000) and Krause et al. (2000) at the University of Turku (Finland). Most current relevant contributions originate from several scholars distributed across different continents. Particular methodological improvements have been proposed by Curcio et al. (2004, 2008) at the Sapienza University of Rome (Italy) and by Regel et al. (2007 a,b) at the University of Zurich (Switzerland), while enlarged sample sizes have been recently studied by Keetley et al. (2006) and Hamblin et al. (2006) at Swinburne University (Australia). In addition, important attempts of replications were performed by Russo et al. (2006) at University of Essex (UK), and by Haaraala et al. (2007) at the University of Turku (Finland).

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