SIFT presentations at NASA’s annual Human Research Program Investigator’s Workshop

Dr. Christopher Miller and Ms. Peggy Wu recently attended NASA’s annual Human Research Program Investigator’s Workshop in Houston. Generally, any NASA-sponsored human research program is required to present a briefing at this workshop, but it is unusual to present more than once per project. Nevertheless, SIFT’s AD ASTRA program was invited to present two lectures.

AD ASTRA has been developing non-intrusive language-based techniques for assessing the psychological state of individuals and the social states of teams. One presentation was on the general results of journal keeping by participants in a 3 month “bed rest” study (continuous recline to simulate physiological effects of prolonged zero g exposure). The other was a more focused analysis of attitudes about exercise from among the bed rest participants. As a partial proof of the speed and utility of our automated textual analysis tools, we were able to re-analyze nearly 1000 journal entries for attitudes about exercise in less than 8 hours. From this analysis, we gleaned that exercise was associated with improvements in affect, that exercisers feel better and mention body and physical terms more frequently and with higher valence in their journals. We were also able to assess profound individual differences in attitudes toward exercise, and in the “drivers” of those attitudes.

In addition to these two AD ASTRA presentations, SIFT also presented a poster based on Ms. Wu’s work developing uses for virtual agents and virtual reality technology to mitigate the effects of isolation (both social and physical) and increased time lags in communication in deep space missions.