Human challenges in polar and space environments
This paper reviews literature on psychosocial adaptation in isolated and confined extreme (ICE) environments, focusing on polar work groups and expedition teams, and simulation and actual space crews. Long-duration missions may involve chronic exposure to many stressors that can negatively impact behavioral health, performance and even safety. In the last decades, anecdotal evidence has been replaced by scientific studies, identifying temporal, social, and individual determinants of psychosocial adaptation, and pointing to countermeasures that may minimize or prevent potential problems. Still, many issues remain that require additional investigation, specifically in relation to the integration of psychosocial and neurobiological adaptation. A recognition of ICE environments as natural laboratories for studies of fundamental questions within psychology may attract more scientists to the field.