Getting Mental

Space psychology.  

You've heard me talk about it before, but what exactly is it? 

Space psychology is the application of psychology to space flight and exploration, often using industrial-organizational psychology (the study of workplace behavior) and human factors (the study of human and their interaction with systems and machines). Astronauts are also given psychological evaluations by psychiatrists. 

I/O psychology is normally applied to management theories and HR while human factors typically is used in product design (like figuring out what size the scroll wheel on the old Apple iPod needed to be to fit the average hand), so how did they end up as the centerpieces of space psychology?

The areas of recruitment and selection play a large role in the industrial side of I/O and extensive research has gone into how to properly measure the skills of applicants to match the best person with the job. As NASA receives thousands and thousands applications from people wanting to be astronauts, they use this to narrow down the pool and find people with the right stuff. 

Another area of I/O research that NASA applies to astronauts is group dynamics and team cohesion (this is my favorite part). Astronaut crews face stress, problems with coworkers, and work deadlines just like the rest of us. However, unlike us, they can't go home at the end of the day and escape those coworkers and forget about that stress. To get around this, research on team dynamics is applied to deciding astronaut crews, specifically research conducted at the University of Central Florida is working towards optimizing crews for the long trip to Mars. This ranges from personality testing to measuring the words said per hour and the the volume at which the person speaks. 

This was a very, very general look into space psychology, and if you guys want to hear more about this, just leave a like on this post, tell me on Instagram, or comment below.  

Clear skies from Gideon and I!