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Adaptive Stress Training for Hazardous Conditions (80NSSC18K1572)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Behavior and performance
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human


Acute stress has the potential to significantly debilitate human performance, both physically and cognitively. For long-duration space flight, the results of such reduced cognitive performance could be life-threatening, and therefore warrants the creation of behavioral countermeasures for mitigating crew health and performance risks. Currently most emergency training focuses on performance outcomes, but new research should be centered on preventing negative performance outcomes through acute stress management techniques. Traditional training can be effective under predictable conditions, but performance can degrade rapidly if unexpected stressors are introduced. Additionally, the proposed system could serve as a preflight screening measure to help identify individuals who are more likely to perform better in high stress situations. The goal of this experiment, using Virtual Reality (VR) simulated situations, was to reduce acute stress response during space flight using an adaptive inoculation approach. Exposure was administered gradually and used a biofeedback system to respond and adapt to individual stress response in a way that promotes learning voluntary physiological control without overwhelming the subject.

Specific aims of this research included:

  1. Identifying stressors in a microgravity environment;
  2. Evaluating formal objective methods to measure baseline chronic and acute stress, in-training performance, psychological stress response, physiological stress response, and procedural errors;
  3. Developing a prototype for graduated stress training;
  4. Conducting a proof-of-concept of the training program based on NASA’s emergency protocols for the International Space Station (ISS); and
  5. Establishing guidelines for implementation of the graduated stress training.

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Adaptation, psychological

Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. Some data sets are online.
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Completion time
Electrodermal activity (EDA)
Heart rate
Heart rate variability
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Ground 05/01/2009 In Progress

Human Research Program (HRP) Human Research Roadmap (HRR) Information
Crew health and performance is critical to successful human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The Human Research Program (HRP) investigates and mitigates the highest risks to human health and performance, providing essential countermeasures and technologies for human space exploration. Risks include physiological and performance effects from hazards such as radiation, altered gravity, and hostile environments, as well as unique challenges in medical support, human factors, and behavioral health support. The HRP utilizes an Integrated Research Plan (IRP) to identify the approach and research activities planned to address these risks, which are assigned to specific Elements within the program. The Human Research Roadmap is the web-based tool for communicating the IRP content.

The Human Research Roadmap is located at:

+ Click here for information of how this experiment is contributing to the HRP's path for risk reduction.

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Jessica Keune
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2017 HERO 80JSC017N0001-Crew Health and Performance