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AD ASTRA: Automated Detection of Attitudes and States through Transaction Recordings Analysis (NNX12AB40G)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Behavior and performance
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

Long-duration missions present unique challenges to the behavioral health of astronauts. Factors such as lack of team coherence, workload, social monotony, access to family and psychosocial support, and interpersonal and cultural differences can affect both crew welfare and task performance. Metrics and methods for assessing these factors are difficult to obtain because some are inherently qualitative, while others may not be amenable to self-reporting. Since these factors are affected by, even largely the product of, interpersonal communication, it is not surprising that interpersonal communications are the primary key to them. There are already rich sources of interpersonal communication data — both intra-crew and between flight crew and ground — which are created and archived during International Space Station (ISS) missions. Recent research suggests that verbal and non-verbal communications can be automatically processed in a variety of ways to provide insight into team cohesion, affective and cognitive states, and team performance. The investigators propose to leverage prior work of their own and of others in cultural and socio-linguistic theory to develop standardized, non-intrusive, and largely automated methods for data collection and knowledge extraction about factors salient to crew psychosocial well-being from existing communications data streams.

The overall objective of this study was to identify suitable combinations of automated text processing techniques, which investigators call “Non-Intrusive Psycho-Social State Assessors” or NIPSSAs and data streams for assessing psychosocial states of interest to NASA and to validate their overall hypothesis that NIPSSA measures could replace survey data for assessing selected psychosocial states. Astronauts’ journals, diaries, and blogs are a rich source of material about their experiences and attitudes toward those experiences, and interpersonal communications are, after all, one of the best methods humans have of assessing changes in attitudes and states. The investigators reasoned that if they could automate assessments of such data streams, many of which are already being captured and, to some extent, monitored during space missions, they would greatly expand the set of data which NASA team dynamics researchers have available.

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Fischer U, Mosier K, Orasanu J, Morrow D, Miller C, and Veinott B. Exploring communication in remote teams: Issues and methods. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting. 2013. September; 57:309-13. 57th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, San Diego, CA, September 30-October 4, 2013. [DOI]

Salas E, Tannenbaum SI, Kozlowski SWJ, Miller CA, Mathieu JE, and Vessey WB. Teams in space exploration: A new frontier for the science of team effectiveness. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 2015. June; 24(3):200-7. [DOI]

Miller CA. (Panel Participants: Fischer U, Smith-Jentsch K, Kozlowski S, Mosier K, Wu P, and Whitmore M.) Research in Long Term Human Performance in Space: Methods and Implications. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting. 2014. September; 58(1):72-6. [DOI]

Miller C, Rye J, Wu P, Schmer-Galunder S, and Ott T. Team PsychoSocial Assessment via Discourse Analysis: Power and Comfort/Routine. in "Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling and Prediction. 7th International Conference, SBP 2014, Washington, DC, USA, April 1-4, 2014. Proceedings." Ed. W.G. Kennedy, N. Agarwal, S.J. Yang. Springer International Publishing, 2014. (Series: Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Volume 8393, p. 309-316.) [DOI]

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Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. Data sets are not publicly available but can be requested.
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Emotional states
Individual drivers
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Campaign 11 05/11/2011 12/15/2014 3 years, 7 months, 4 days
Ground 05/01/2009 In Progress
HERA Campaign 1 02/27/2014 09/11/2014 Four 7-day missions

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: Pamela A. Bieri
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2010 Crew Health NNJ10ZSA003N