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Human Performance in a Realistic Instrument-Control Task during Short-Term Microgravity.

Steinberg F, Kalicinski M, Dalecki M, Bock O - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Previous studies have documented the detrimental effects of microgravity on human sensorimotor skills.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.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Physiology and Anatomy, German Sport University, Cologne, Germany; Institute of Sport Science, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.

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.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Control efficiency.Shown is the parameter control efficiency in normal (1G) and in microgravity (μG). 1G score is the total earned money across all 26 episodes of the control task performed in normal gravity; accordingly μG score represents the earnings of all 26 episodes of the control task in microgravity. Data are presented as means ± standard errors divided by 1000. *** = p < .001.
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pone.0128992.g002: Control efficiency.Shown is the parameter control efficiency in normal (1G) and in microgravity (μG). 1G score is the total earned money across all 26 episodes of the control task performed in normal gravity; accordingly μG score represents the earnings of all 26 episodes of the control task in microgravity. Data are presented as means ± standard errors divided by 1000. *** = p < .001.

Mentions: As depicted in Fig 2, participants earned less money in μG compared to 1G. The difference between Gravity conditions (1G, μG) was statistically significant (F (1, 11) = 19.714, p < .001, η2 = .64) and it was substantial, amounting to 17.6% less earnings. Fig 3 illustrates all motor scores in μG and 1G, and Table 2 summarizes the pertinent ANOVA outcome. Gravity had no significant effect on any motor parameter, the factor Knob (large, rotary and small knob) expectedly had significant effects on all parameters (PHV, PGA, F, CT, KC), and the interaction term (Knob x Gravity) was significant only for PHV. The latter finding reflects, according to Fig 3, a reduction of hand velocity in μG for the small knob and the rotary switch (both p < .05), but not for the large knob (p > .05). The magnitude of this reduction averaged for the small knob 8.3% and for the rotary switch 4.8%. Movement variability was in an acceptable range for all parameters (between 0.13 und 0.67) and Gravity (1G, μG) had no significant effect on any variability parameter (ANOVAs for CVs of PHV, PGA, F and CT were all p > .05).


Human Performance in a Realistic Instrument-Control Task during Short-Term Microgravity.

Steinberg F, Kalicinski M, Dalecki M, Bock O - PLoS ONE (2015)

Control efficiency.Shown is the parameter control efficiency in normal (1G) and in microgravity (μG). 1G score is the total earned money across all 26 episodes of the control task performed in normal gravity; accordingly μG score represents the earnings of all 26 episodes of the control task in microgravity. Data are presented as means ± standard errors divided by 1000. *** = p < .001.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4470626&req=5

pone.0128992.g002: Control efficiency.Shown is the parameter control efficiency in normal (1G) and in microgravity (μG). 1G score is the total earned money across all 26 episodes of the control task performed in normal gravity; accordingly μG score represents the earnings of all 26 episodes of the control task in microgravity. Data are presented as means ± standard errors divided by 1000. *** = p < .001.
Mentions: As depicted in Fig 2, participants earned less money in μG compared to 1G. The difference between Gravity conditions (1G, μG) was statistically significant (F (1, 11) = 19.714, p < .001, η2 = .64) and it was substantial, amounting to 17.6% less earnings. Fig 3 illustrates all motor scores in μG and 1G, and Table 2 summarizes the pertinent ANOVA outcome. Gravity had no significant effect on any motor parameter, the factor Knob (large, rotary and small knob) expectedly had significant effects on all parameters (PHV, PGA, F, CT, KC), and the interaction term (Knob x Gravity) was significant only for PHV. The latter finding reflects, according to Fig 3, a reduction of hand velocity in μG for the small knob and the rotary switch (both p < .05), but not for the large knob (p > .05). The magnitude of this reduction averaged for the small knob 8.3% and for the rotary switch 4.8%. Movement variability was in an acceptable range for all parameters (between 0.13 und 0.67) and Gravity (1G, μG) had no significant effect on any variability parameter (ANOVAs for CVs of PHV, PGA, F and CT were all p > .05).

Bottom Line: Previous studies have documented the detrimental effects of microgravity on human sensorimotor skills.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.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Physiology and Anatomy, German Sport University, Cologne, Germany; Institute of Sport Science, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.

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.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus