Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #287
CE Offered: BACB
Onward and Upward: Behavioral Science Principles and Practice in Human Space Exploration
Sunday, May 24, 2020
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Level M2, Marquis Ballroom 6
Area: SCI; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Derek D. Reed (University of Kansas)
CE Instructor: Derek D. Reed, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: PETER ROMA (NASA Johnson Space Center)

Complex mission-oriented operational environments such as space exploration seem incompatible with the rigor and control that define the behavior analytic approach. Yet, the inherent risks, strategic value, and public investment in these missions require applying the best science available to enable success. This presentation will describe the parallels between behavior analytic principles and spaceflight operations, review selected historical and recent applications of behavioral science in astronauts and other teams in isolated, confined, and extreme environments, and describe opportunities for applied behavior analysis as part of integrated multidisciplinary efforts to enable future mission success and support those who work, live, serve, and explore on the final frontier.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Scientists, lab/department/program directors, agency program administrators

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) define “ICE” environment(s); (2) identify three key shared features between classical laboratory behavior analysis and spaceflight operations; (3) identify three factors that affect cooperative behavior and team performance in long-duration missions.
PETER ROMA (NASA Johnson Space Center)

Dr. Pete Roma is Senior Scientist and Director of the Behavioral Health & Performance Laboratory at NASA Johnson Space Center. He also holds adjunct appointments at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the University of Kansas, the University of California—Irvine, the University of Texas at Austin, and Rice University. Prior to joining NASA, he trained and worked with space research pioneer Dr. Joseph V. Brady and behavioral economics pioneer Dr. Steven R. Hursh studying individual and environmental influences on cooperative behavior in high-performing teams. At NASA, the BHP Laboratory specializes in multidisciplinary longitudinal research and countermeasure development to support individual and team behavioral health, performance, and adaptation in isolated, confined, and extreme operational environments. Through support from NASA’s Human Research Program, Space Biology Program, and Systems Maturation Team as well as the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (MRMC) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), recent and ongoing efforts include integrated investigations of human physical and behavioral health, performance, and biopsychosocial adaptation over time in NASA’s Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) and 20-ft Chamber facilities, the Hawai’i Space Exploration Simulation and Analog (HI-SEAS) habitat, the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems’ SIRIUS/NEK chamber, Concordia and Neumayer Stations in Antarctica, and the International Space Station.




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