Date of Submission

Spring 2021

Academic Program

Psychology; Psychology

Project Advisor 1

Thomas Hutcheon

Abstract/Artist's Statement


Considering that a new era for space exploration has begun, space scientists and engineers have devoted their time to develop the capabilities needed to send humans abroad into extended forays in space. Individuals who are subjected to these hostile environments experience various aspects of social isolation and confinement. The stress induced by living under these environmental conditions has been shown to cause changes in brain structures that negatively impact mood cognitive performance. However, it has been found that musical training can positively impact the structural and functional organization of the human brain, thus improving the mood and cognitive performance of individuals. The present study proposes to investigate the effects of musical training on 12 individuals who will spend 9-months in a space analog facility in Antarctica. Mood questionnaires and cognitive tests will be used to assess distinct changes as a response to the environment. The findings of this study will presumably support the idea that musical training prevents cognitive decline and improves psychological health under conditions of isolation and confinement. What researchers learn from this study will potentially help astronauts prepare for longer, farther exploration missions, and will also contribute insight with regard to mitigating the effects of prolonged social isolation and confinement on other members of our population.

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Open Access

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