Decision making in space | 2/8/2019 | Staff
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An academic at Royal Holloway has conducted research to see how people make decisions in space with zero gravity and the results prove this little-known area needs to be addressed.

Dr. Elisa Ferre, senior lecturer in psychology, and Maria Gallagher, lead author and Ph.D. student, both from Royal Holloway, investigated how alterations in gravity changed decision making.

Astronauts - Fitness - Equipment - Brain - Functions

Astronauts are primarily trained in physical fitness and given the right equipment, but are rarely proficient in how their brain functions will work millions of miles away from earth, when making decisions away from the comfort of terrestrial gravity.

The experiment saw participants take part in Random Number Generation task where they were upright, with the natural pull of gravity around them, and asked to shout out a random number between one and nine every time they heard a beep. This was then repeated, but with the participant laying down which manipulates the gravity.

Participant - Sequence - Numbers - Force - Gravity

When sitting up, the participant was able to shout out a different random sequence of numbers, but when lying down, and thus not within the natural force of gravity, things started to change.

Maria Gallagher explained: "We found decreased randomness in the sequence of numbers when participants were laying down: participants started to repeat the same number they shouted out before and the random choices they made almost ceased."

Dr - Elisa - Ferre

Dr. Elisa Ferre said: "With the...
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