Workplace in Space: Space Neuroscience and Performance Management in Terrestrial Environments

  • Koji TachibanaEmail author
Part of the Advances in Neuroethics book series (AIN)


I investigate how isolated and confined environment research in human space exploration informs performance management in terrestrial organizations and workplaces and to what extent space neuroscience can contribute to such research and management. Space life science studies of astronauts’ performance management during long-duration missions under isolated and confined environment started in the mid-1990s. This research merits further scrutiny, as scientific knowledge on life in space has been successfully applied to support people in related terrestrial environments. However, space neuroscientists have yet to fully explore the potential of research on the neural substrates of human behavioral health in isolated and confined environments. I demonstrate why research on these neural mechanisms can and should be conducted, identifying five principal reasons. This kind of research will contribute to facilitate the establishment of a more responsive behavioral health program in the workplace and organization, change the organizational culture, and solve issues related to international or multicultural work environments. Further neuroethical considerations are also required, since such research can be used for unethical purposes, such as augmenting workers to continue working under unhealthy workplace conditions. In conclusion, space neuroscience, in combination with other fields, can make a distinctive research contribution not merely to elucidate how the human mind, body, and brain affect ethical performance in various terrestrial, isolated, and confined settings but also to improve performance management and establish ethically sound organizations.


Isolated and confined environment Space life science Space medicine Social psychology Performance management Astronauts Behavioral health Mental health Stanley Milgram Philip Zimbardo 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Kumamoto UniversityKumamotoJapan

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