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Factors Contributing to Food Acceptability and Consumption, Mood, and Stress on Long-term Space Missions (NNX12AE56G)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Behavior and performance
Human factors
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

The three inter-related foci in this proposal explore factors that contribute to the long-term acceptability of a diet, in terms of satisfaction with and sufficient consumption of the foods, as well as associated moods and stress levels. The objective of the first focus is to examine behaviors related to preparing and consuming meals. Understanding the relation between preparation effort and the acceptability and consumption of the prepared food, as well as effects on moods and stress, will inform decisions on the amount of time and types of activities crewmembers should allot to meal preparation. Understanding the relations between communal dining and special occasion meals and moods and stress will allow recommendations for dining behaviors that maximize positive moods and minimize stress.

To do this investigators will separately manipulate food preparation effort, food preparation creativity, and the number of people eating together. They will measure the fluctuation in participants' moods and stress levels using questionnaires and physiological measurements. Meal and food acceptability will be measured using a variety of subjective rating scales.

The objective of their second focus is to assess whether comfort foods repair individuals’ moods, and if so, whether comfort foods are more effective than control foods at repairing moods. Understanding the effects of specific foods on crewmembers’ food consumption, stress, and moods will inform decisions on the quantities of such mood-improving foods that should be made available on long missions.

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Osdoba KE, Mann T, Redden JP, and Vickers Z. Using food to reduce stress: Effects of choosing meal components and preparing a meal. Food Quality and Preference. 2015. January; 39: 241-50.

Wagner HS, Ahlstrom B, Redden JP, Vickers Z, and Mann T. The myth of comfort food. Health Psychology. 2014. December; 33(12):1552-7. []

Food preferences
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Data Information
Data Availability
Archiving in Progress. Some restricted access data exist for this experiment.
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Diastolic blood pressure
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Expedition 42 11/10/2014 03/11/2015 121 days
Expedition 43 03/11/2015 06/10/2015 91 days
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)
Alternate Experiment Name
Astro Palate
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2010 Crew Health NNJ10ZSA003N