Acta Astronautica, 64 (7), p.678-681, Apr 2009
Mental representation of spatial cues in microgravity: Writing and drawing tests
Gilles Clément(a, b), Corinna Lathan(c), Anna Lockerd(c), and Angie Bukley(b),
(a)Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR 5549 CNRS-UPS Cerveau et Cognition, Toulouse, France
(b)Russ College of Engineering and Technology, Ohio University, Athens, OH, USA
(c)AnthroTronix Inc., Silver Spring, MD, USA
Humans have mental representation of their environment based on sensory information and experience. A series of experiments has been designed to allow the identification of disturbances in the mental representation of three-dimensional space during space flight as a consequence of the absence of the gravitational frame of reference. This NASA/ESA-funded research effort includes motor tests complemented by psychophysics measurements, designed to distinguish the effects of cognitive versus perceptual-motor changes due to microgravity exposure. Preliminary results have been obtained during the microgravity phase of parabolic flight. These results indicate that the vertical height of handwritten characters and drawn objects is reduced in microgravity compared to normal gravity, suggesting that the mental representation of the height of objects and the environment change during short-term microgravity. Identifying lasting abnormalities in the mental representation of spatial cues will establish the scientific and technical foundation for development of preflight and in-flight training and rehabilitative schemes, enhancing astronaut performance of perceptual-motor tasks, for example, interaction with robotic systems during exploration-class missions.
Corresponding author at: UMR 5549 CNRS-UPS, Faculté de Médecine de Rangueil, 31062 Toulouse, France. Tel.: +33 562 172 831; fax: +33 562 172 809.
ABSTRACT & FIGURES: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...d&searchtype=a
...1). Trajectory of the stylus pen on the tablet was recorded on a laptop computer using dedicated script analysis software (MovAlyzeR, NeuroScript, LLC). Each subject was required to execute 10 different types of drawings (Fig. 2) using the digitizing tablet...