Society Track: Lakey, Psychology, GVSU

Dr. Brian Lakey: "Psychological factors in prolonged space travel"

Prolonged space travel would likely involve a dramatically restricted social life, in that astronauts would have face-to-face social interaction with only a few other people.  Further, these few other people are not family members or pre-existing romantic partners.   This raises interesting psychological questions.  Would such a restricted social life lead to the onset of mental disorders or mission destroying social conflict?  Could virtual contact with family and friends on earth offset any of these risks?  How could mental disorders or conflict be addressed in deep space?  Can astronauts be selected or trained in a way to minimize the chances of mental disorders or social conflict?  This presentation will consider these issues and present relevant research findings.