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Human Research Program

Monitoring and Regulating Teamwork

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

This ground-based research extended prior NASA supported work to address: PRD (Program Requirements Document) Risk of Performance Decrements Due to Inadequate Cooperation, Coordination, Communication, and Psychosocial Adaptation within a Team. IRP (Integrated Research Plan) Gap - Team2: Given the context of long duration missions, what are the best tools to effectively monitor and measure task performance, teamwork, and psychosocial performance? Collaboration and cohesion are critical underpinnings of teamwork. This is especially true for high reliability teams such as long duration (LD) space flight crews that have to perform in extreme environments. Effective teamwork is essential for minimizing errors and supporting team performance, and it is reflective of good psychosocial adaptation to the stresses of LD space missions. Research Plan: This research had two key goals: (a) benchmarking variation in team collaboration and team cohesion over LD missions and (b) further developing a monitoring and regulation system to unobtrusively measure team collaboration and cohesion. For (a), there is substantial research that documents a relationship between team cohesion and effectiveness; however, that evidentiary foundation is based on static data. We are systematically examining variation in team cohesion and collaboration in LD analog teams operating in isolated, confined, and extreme (ICE) environments. In prior research we had collected preliminary data for ICE teams operating in the Antarctic and had detected evidence for considerable variation in cohesion levels over time. This project extended the research to larger samples and longer durations to help calibrate expected levels of cohesion variability, which is essential for developing appropriate models to benchmark team psycho-social health. For (b), one key component of the monitoring system is a technology--a wearable sensor network--that assesses the frequency, duration, distance, and quality of collaboration as team members work together. In prior research we had developed functional prototypes and had initiated a series of basic laboratory validation studies. That work provided preliminary validation evidence demonstrating that the monitoring technology is capable of accurately capturing team member interactions (relative to video coding of interactions) in highly structured collaborations. The current research advanced the prior research to develop the monitoring and regulation system by: (a) extending validation research of the monitoring technology to capture successively more complex and naturalistic team interaction dynamics, and (b) initiating the development of a feedback “dashboard” to display multiple data streams (collaboration frequency, duration, and distance; physiological arousal) that can help diagnose the effectiveness of collaboration and teamwork. Specific Aims: The purpose of this proposal was to (1) extend our benchmarking of LD team functioning in ICE environments, (2) extend the validation process for the monitoring and regulation system and begin to develop a data fusion model, and (3) develop a feedback dashboard to display multimodal data on team functioning. Project deliverables: (1) benchmarking data for long duration analog teams in operating in ICE environments, (2) validation evidence to establish proof-of-concept for the monitoring technology and preliminary development of a data fusion model, and (3) a feedback dashboard display to diagnose team functioning based on multimodal monitoring data. More »

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