High concentration of CO2 reduces man’s intellectual abilities

Categories: Big picture
Published on: June 27, 2016

Skeptical Science / Marcin Popkiewicz / 17 November 2014

Impact-of-CO2-on-Human-Decision-Making-Performance-20141029Did you ever experience being at a lecture or a meeting in a room where you felt tired, your eyes were closing and no matter how hard you tried you could not concentrate? The reason did not have to be a boring subject or a mediocre lecturer – it is a common experience caused by high concentration of carbon dioxide in the air of a crowded and poorly ventilated conference room or a classroom.

People exhale carbon dioxide. If the room is crowded, small and poorly ventilated, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air grows. When in turn we inhale such air, the carbon dioxide contained in it gets dissolved in our blood and reacts with water to create carbonic acid [H2CO3], which, in turn dissolves into ions of hydrogen [H+] and bicarbonate [HCO3−]. Increase in the concentration of hydrogen ions increases blood acidity and creates electrolyte imbalance, causing increased discomfort and decline in intellectual performance. We feel tired, numb and less capable of any mental or physical effort.