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Authors: Steinberg, Fabian
Kalicinski, Michael
Dalecki, Marc
Bock, Otmar
Title: Human performance in a realistic instrument-control task during short-term microgravity
Online publication date: 5-Oct-2022
Year of first publication: 2015
Language: english
Abstract: Previous studies have documented the detrimental effects of microgravity on human sensorimotor skills. While that work dealt with simple, laboratory-type skills, we now evaluate the effects of microgravity on a complex, realistic instrument-control skill. Twelve participants controlled a simulated power plant during the short-term microgravity intervals of parabolic flight as well as during level flight. To this end they watched multiple displays, made strategic decisions and used multiple actuators to maximize their virtual earnings from the power plant. We quantified control efficiency as the participants’ net earnings (revenue minus expenses), motor performance as hand kinematics and dynamics, and stress as cortisol level, self-assessed mood and self-assessed workload. We found that compared to normal gravity, control efficiency substantially decreased in microgravity, hand velocity slowed down, and cortisol level and perceived physical strain increased, but other stress and motor scores didn’t change. Furthermore, control efficiency was not correlated with motor and stress scores. From this we conclude that realistic instrument control was degraded in short-term microgravity. This degradation can’t be explained by the motor and/or stress indicators under study, and microgravity affected motor performance differently in our complex, realistic skill than in the simple, laboratory-type skills of earlier studies.
DDC: 150 Psychologie
150 Psychology
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 02 Sozialwiss., Medien u. Sport
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY
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Journal: PLoS one
Pages or article number: e0128992
Publisher: PLoS
Publisher place: Lawrence, Kan.
Issue date: 2015
ISSN: 1932-6203
Publisher URL:
Publisher DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128992
Appears in collections:DFG-OA-Publizieren (2012 - 2017)

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