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Ethological Indicators of Isolated and Confined Teams in the Perspective of Missions to Mars

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Tafforin C. Ethological indicators of isolated and confined teams in the perspective of missions to Mars. Aviat Space Environ Med 2005; 76:1083–1087.

Introduction: This study proposes an ethological overview of the social behavior of confined and isolated teams within three experimental chambers and at a polar base during long-duration campaigns. These were undertaken as analogous conditions of the mobility restraint and social constraint to which Mars teams would have to adapt. Method: The ethological method consisted of weekly observations and descriptions of the subjects’ motor actions and spatial positions at dinnertime, then evaluating their levels of frequency in terms of distances, orientations, and dispersions, as well as facial expressions and body movements. Results: Changes in social behavior indicate different adaptive strategies over time and according to the situation. In large or open areas, interindividual distances are constant. In reduced habitats, the frequency of personal distances decreases and the frequency of public distances increases with high levels of social distance and body mobility from the initial period to the final period. Increasing spatial dispersion and decreasing social orientations indicate low levels of sociality within the teams at the mid-period. Frequent collateral activities during long-duration confinement campaigns indicate high levels of stress in the team members. Discussion: Such ethological indicators could be used in future interplanetary mission scenarios.

Keywords: Antarctic; adaptation; confinement; group dynamics; interindividual distances; isolation; social behavior

Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: 2005-11-01

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