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Architectural Properties’ Impact on Stress and Cognition

It is well known that the buildings where we spend our lives affect us. It has been shown that they can even influence our stress levels. This relationship between our built environment and our stress becomes even more important in a range of safety-critical environments, where high stress levels can even affect staff judgement and job performance.

In addition, humans have reached, and continue to reach, places where we've never been before, such as other planets. From long-term missions in submarines to wintering expeditions in the Arctic and mining platforms at sea and even in space. at sea and even in space stations, people are forced to live and work in cramped conditions and cramped conditions and isolation for long periods of time. In addition, these people's jobs require them to be at the highest possible cognitive and physical level.

As far as possible, these places and vehicles need to be designed to minimise the stress caused by the situation, and to help people cope with the stresses that is likely to result from their work. This project aims to better understand what in the environment of these sites/vehicles is perceived to be experienced as stressful and what contributes to recovery from stress. In addition, we want to understand how the space we live in can affect our mental functioning during periods of stress.

In the study, we will collect and analyse data from around 20-30 research subjects. who live and work in this type of environment for 10 to 40 days. The locations and vehicles in the sub-studies will be located within and outside Sweden's borders. We want to be able to recruit research participants in Sweden, as well as in other as well as in other countries, for this study and all its sub-studies.

For data collection that planned outside Sweden, we will apply for local ethical approvals. All data analysis, including sensitive data, will be performed in Sweden. The research team will analyse data on participants' stress levels, cognitive performance and brain activity performance and brain activity that have been previously collected or will be collected using various using different methods, such as questionnaires, cognitive assessments, and heart rate monitoring equipment. For example, researchers will study data from devices that monitor the heart rate and movements of people living in isolated environments, and isolated environments and daily questionnaires on their stress levels. Short cognitive tests will also be analysed, which measure their memory, attention and reaction time.

The aim of the research is to understand how different aspects of architecture influence the well-being of people living and working in these environments and to provide valuable insights for architects and insights for architects and designers of future bases in extreme environments. In addition, the knowledge gained through this research may have implications for the design of shared architectural spaces, leading to improvements in the way we design vehicles and vehicles and buildings to limit mental stress.

Research in space

Read about how researchers Michail Magkos and Mikael Forsman will analyze stress, cognitive performance, heart activity and movements in space. Data collected and comparisons from different parts of the space station will provide a better understanding of how the design of space environments affects astronauts' thinking and stress levels.

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Project leader



Rymdstyrelsen (Swedish National Space Agency)