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Psychomotor Vigilance Self Test on the International Space Station (Reaction_Self_Test)
12.05.12

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Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

Experiment Overview

This content was provided by David F. Dinges, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Brief Summary

The Psychomotor Vigilance Self Test on the International Space Station (Reaction Self Test) is a portable 5-minute reaction time task that will allow the crewmembers to monitor the daily effects of fatigue on performance while on board the International Space Station (ISS).

Principal Investigator(s)

  • David F. Dinges, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)

  • Daniel Mollicone, Ph.D., Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • Mathias Basner, Ph.D., M.D., MSc, Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • Developer(s)

    Johnson Space Center, Human Research Program, Houston, TX, United States

    Sponsoring Space Agency

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization

    Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)

    ISS Expedition Duration:

    October 2009 - March 2014



    Expeditions Assigned

    21/22,23/24,25/26,27/28,29/30,31/32,33/34,35/36,37/38

    Previous ISS Missions

    This test has been previously performed during the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operation (NEEMO) missions 9, 12 and 13.

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • The Psychomotor Vigilance Self Test on the International Space Station (Reaction Self Test) aids crewmembers to objectively identify when their performance capability is degraded by various fatigue-related conditions that can occur as a result of ISS operations and time in space (e.g., acute and chronic sleep restriction, slam shifts, extravehicular activity (EVA), and residual sedation from sleep medications).


    • Reaction Self Test evaluates the extent to which performance of ISS crewmembers is sensitive to fatigue from sleep loss and circadian (a rhythm of biological functions occurring in a 24-hour periodic cycle (e.g., sleeping, eating, etc.)) disruption during the mission, fatigue from work intensity during the mission, decline of performance with time during the mission, and carry-over effects of medications for sleep on board the ISS.


    • Reaction Self Test also evaluates the extent to which performance feedback (via a graphical interface) is perceived by ISS crewmembers as a useful tool for assessing performance capability.

    Description

    The Psychomotor Vigilance Self Test on the International Space Station (Reaction Self Test) provides crewmembers with objective feedback on neurobehavioral changes in vigilant attention, psychomotor speed, state stability, and impulsivity while on ISS missions. The Reaction Self Test is ideal for repeated use in space flight because unlike other cognitive tests, it is very brief while being free of learning effects and aptitude differences that make interpretation of other cognitive measures difficult. The Reaction Self Test was successfully deployed in three NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operation (NEEMO) missions (9, 12 and 13) and found to be acceptable by the 12 astronauts, whose data provided a normative database for development of a feedback interface for the Reaction Self Test to alert crewmembers to their performance level. These data support the readiness of the Reaction Self Test for deployment and study on board the ISS.

    The following are the specific aims of the project:

    • To evaluate the extent to which Reaction Self Test performance of crewmembers is sensitive to fatigue from sleep loss and circadian disruption during ISS missions. This includes the following conditions evaluated individually and in aggregate:
      • extended wake duration between 16 hours

      • sleep restriction defined as total sleep time greater than 0 and less than 6 hours per 24-hour period

      • circadian perturbation associated with night work and slam shifting.

    • To evaluate the extent to which Reaction Self Test performance of crewmembers is sensitive to fatigue from work intensity during ISS missions. This includes the following conditions evaluated individually and in aggregate:
      • extend work durations up to 16 hours per day

      • more than 6 consecutive work days without a day off for rest

      • work requiring extravehicular activity (EVA).

    • To evaluate the extent to which Reaction Self Test performance of crewmembers declines with time in mission.


    • To evaluate the extent to which Reaction Self Test performance of crewmembers are sensitive to the carry-over effects of medications for sleep (e.g., zolpidem, ramelteon, etc.) on board the ISS.


    • To evaluate the extent to which Reaction Self Test performance feedback (via a graphical interface) is perceived by ISS crewmembers as a useful tool for assessing performance capability. This is addressed throughout the mission by crewmember ratings.

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    Applications

    Space Applications

    The Reaction Self Test aids crewmembers to objectively identify when their performance capability is degraded by various fatigue-related conditions that can occur as a result of ISS operations and time in space. The project addresses a number of high-priority NASA Behavioral Health and Performance (BHP) research gaps including; (1) identification of the best measure for assessing decrements in cognitive function due to fatigue and other aspects of spaceflight; (2) determination of an individual crewmember’s vulnerability to sleep loss; (3) establishment of cognition decline or change during long-duration missions (LDM); and (4) facilitation of ways for crewmembers and ground support to detect and compensate for decreased cognitive readiness to perform in space.

    Earth Applications

    The PI developed the original 10-minute Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT), which the Reaction Self Test was derived from, to measure changes in psychomotor speed, lapses of attention, wake state instability, and impulsivity induced by fatigue and other performance-degrading factors commonly found in operational environments. Based on research supported by federal and non-US federal agencies, as well as the pharmaceutical industry, the 10-minute PVT has been extensively validated in laboratory studies, simulators and operational environments to be sensitive to a variety of performance-degrading fatigue-related factors.

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    Operations

    Operational Requirements

    A minimum of 24 long-duration ISS crewmembers are needed as subjects for the experiment. The preflight sessions are at launch minus 180 (L-180), L-150, L-120, L-90, L-60, L-30, and L-7 through L-1. The postflight sessions are from R+0 to R+7 and R+30, R+60, and R+90. The inflight session is performed twice a day every fourth day of the mission starting on FD3. In addition to completing the test twice a day every fourth day, crewmembers are requested to complete the Reaction Self Test twice per day on each day of a sleep shift in addition to twice a day three days preceding a sleep shift, and Reaction Self Test twice per day for five days following the sleep shift. Crewmembers are also requested to perform the Reaction Self Test twice on the day preceding an EVA, and once immediately after the EVA and all its related activities have been completed.

    Operational Protocols

    During flight, it is imperative that the Reaction Self Test be completed regularly through the entire mission. The Reaction Self Test uses the HRF laptop or Station Support Computer (SSC) and takes about five minutes to complete. It includes pre-test questions, the reaction time test and feedback displays on the computer. The crewmember is requested to complete the Reaction Self Test twice a day every fourth day of the mission. In addition to completing the test twice a day every fourth day, crewmembers are requested to complete the Reaction Self Test twice per day on each day of a sleep shift in addition to twice a day three days preceding a sleep shift, and Reaction Self Test twice per day for five days following the sleep shift. Crewmembers are also requested to perform the Reaction Self Test twice on the day preceding an EVA, and once immediately after the EVA and all its related activities have been completed.

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    Results/More Information

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    Related Websites

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    Imagery

    image NASA Image: JSC2007E22737 - NASA flight surgeon Josef F. Schmid works with the Psychomotor Vigilance Test (Reaction Self Test) inside the undersea habitat for the 12th NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) mission.
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    image NASA Image: ISS022E097239 - Jeffrey Williams, Expedition 22 Commander, performing Reaction Self Test in the U.S. Laboratory.
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    image View of laptop computer in the Node 1 during the Reaction Self-Test (Psychomotor Vigilance Self-Test on the ISS) protocol by the Expedition 33 crew. The Node 1 table and a bulkhead covered in mission patches are also visible in the frame. NASA Image.
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    Information provided by the investigation team to the ISS Program Scientist's Office.
    If updates are needed to the summary please contact JSC-ISS-Program-Science-Group. For other general questions regarding space station research and technology, please feel free to call our help line at 281-244-6187 or e-mail at JSC-ISS-Payloads-Helpline.