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Using Real-Time Lexical Indicators to Detect Performance Decrements in Spaceflight Teams: A Methodology to Dynamically Monitor Cognitive, Emotional, and Social Mechanisms That Influence Performance

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

To date, we have collected data from HERA Campaign 1 (C1M1 – C1M4), HERA Campaign 2 (C2M1 – C2M4), and NEEMO18. The Year 1 effort was to conduct a proof-of-concept study to demonstrate the feasibility of this approach in the Year 1 HERA analogs. This was accomplished, demonstrating that (a) lexical measures can distinguish between high stress and nominal stress in HERA, (b) these measures are consistent with traditional pen and paper measures of stress, and (c) they show sensitivity to variations in stress levels. However, it is important to note that our goal in this project is to develop and test a lexical analysis tool that is tailored for, and optimized to, the LDSF (long duration space flight) environment, rather than simply apply an existing lexical analysis program. That is, we proposed to develop a lexical analysis tool, STRESSnet, that is specifically tailored to assess stress effects in the LDSF environment. This requires that we base this tool on a comprehensive model of the stress domain that draws on existing theory on stress, performance, and well-being, and that we incorporate terms drawn from the existing spaceflight corpus. In Year 1, at the direction of the project sponsors, we had to shift our focus immediately to testing a preliminary version of STRESSnet in HERA1 to demonstrate the feasibility of this approach. Thus, the methodological development of the STRESSnet tool was accelerated to meet this schedule, resulting in a quickly-composed scale that was suitable for testing. In Year 2, we are able to perform the more detailed, iterative tasks that are required for the development of the STRESSnet dictionaries. Therefore, there are two primary YR2 tasks that were performed: (1) Data collection and analysis of HERA C2M1 – C2M4 (analyses are still ongoing). (2) Tool revision and elaboration to derive the STRESSnet lexical dictionaries. This report focuses on the tool development task. The products of this task are the searchable dictionaries of lexical terms to assess stress and related states. To derive these dictionaries, we first developed a comprehensive model of stress, performance, and well-being. Guided by this model, we derived five major stress dimensions to be examined (attentional focus, cognitive load, anxiety, negative emotion, and social impairment), as well as a number of sub-facets within each core dimension. To develop lexical measures for each sub-facet (such as sadness), we first scavenged existing sources (available scales, questionnaires, existing lexical dictionaries, as well as reviewing Johnson Space Center (JSC) mission transcripts) to develop an initial inventory of terms reflecting that sub-facet or construct. We then initiated a series of iterative ratings of these word lists in order to include additional relevant terms and exclude irrelevant terms. More »

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