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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

Stress indicators.Shown are the Cortisol levels and the three dimensions of the MoodMeter questionnaire. PEPS abbreviates the physical, PSYCHO the psychological and MOT the motivational mood dimension. One significant effect for the factor Time was found for PEPS (p < .05) between early and mid (p < .05); all other ANOVA factors were not significant (p > .05). Abbreviations of the x-axis indicate points in time corresponding to the flight profile, i.e. ‘early’ is taken before the 1G-1st block, ‘mid’ is after the μG-1st block and ‘late’ is before the 1G-2nd block (cf. Fig 1D). Data are presented as means ± standard errors.
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pone.0128992.g004: Stress indicators.Shown are the Cortisol levels and the three dimensions of the MoodMeter questionnaire. PEPS abbreviates the physical, PSYCHO the psychological and MOT the motivational mood dimension. One significant effect for the factor Time was found for PEPS (p < .05) between early and mid (p < .05); all other ANOVA factors were not significant (p > .05). Abbreviations of the x-axis indicate points in time corresponding to the flight profile, i.e. ‘early’ is taken before the 1G-1st block, ‘mid’ is after the μG-1st block and ‘late’ is before the 1G-2nd block (cf. Fig 1D). Data are presented as means ± standard errors.

Mentions: Separate ANOVAs for three dimensions of mood assessment yielded a significant effect of Time (early, mid, late) for PEPS (F (2, 22) = 4.525, p = .02, η2 = .29), but not for PSYCHO and MOT (both p > .05). Post-hoc analysis of PEPS revealed significant differences only between early and middle (p = .02): only the middle phase of μG (i.e. after 15 parabolas including performance of 13 control task episodes) was considered to be physically more stressing, as illustrated in Fig 4. There was no significant effect of Time for TLX (F (2, 22) = .228, p > .05) but there was one for Cortisol (F (2, 20) = 4.093, p = .03, η2 = .29). Fig 4 illustrates a continuous increase of Cortisol levels from early to middle to late time, but post-hoc decomposition revealed a significant difference only between early and late (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)

Stress indicators.Shown are the Cortisol levels and the three dimensions of the MoodMeter questionnaire. PEPS abbreviates the physical, PSYCHO the psychological and MOT the motivational mood dimension. One significant effect for the factor Time was found for PEPS (p < .05) between early and mid (p < .05); all other ANOVA factors were not significant (p > .05). Abbreviations of the x-axis indicate points in time corresponding to the flight profile, i.e. ‘early’ is taken before the 1G-1st block, ‘mid’ is after the μG-1st block and ‘late’ is before the 1G-2nd block (cf. Fig 1D). Data are presented as means ± standard errors.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone.0128992.g004: Stress indicators.Shown are the Cortisol levels and the three dimensions of the MoodMeter questionnaire. PEPS abbreviates the physical, PSYCHO the psychological and MOT the motivational mood dimension. One significant effect for the factor Time was found for PEPS (p < .05) between early and mid (p < .05); all other ANOVA factors were not significant (p > .05). Abbreviations of the x-axis indicate points in time corresponding to the flight profile, i.e. ‘early’ is taken before the 1G-1st block, ‘mid’ is after the μG-1st block and ‘late’ is before the 1G-2nd block (cf. Fig 1D). Data are presented as means ± standard errors.
Mentions: Separate ANOVAs for three dimensions of mood assessment yielded a significant effect of Time (early, mid, late) for PEPS (F (2, 22) = 4.525, p = .02, η2 = .29), but not for PSYCHO and MOT (both p > .05). Post-hoc analysis of PEPS revealed significant differences only between early and middle (p = .02): only the middle phase of μG (i.e. after 15 parabolas including performance of 13 control task episodes) was considered to be physically more stressing, as illustrated in Fig 4. There was no significant effect of Time for TLX (F (2, 22) = .228, p > .05) but there was one for Cortisol (F (2, 20) = 4.093, p = .03, η2 = .29). Fig 4 illustrates a continuous increase of Cortisol levels from early to middle to late time, but post-hoc decomposition revealed a significant difference only between early and late (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