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Instrumentality, Expressivity and the Big 5 in astronaut applicants and airline pilots; Implications for performance and crew resource management Dave Musson MD Robert L. Helmreich PhD Human Factors Research Project Department of Psychology The University of Texas at Austin

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Instrumentality, Expressivity and the Big 5 in astronaut applicants and airline pilots; Implications for performance and crew resource management

  • Dave Musson MD
  • Robert L. Helmreich PhD
    • Human Factors Research Project
    • Department of Psychology
    • The University of Texas at Austin
  • Gro M. Sandal PhD
    • Department of Psychosocial Science
    • University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  • 14th IAA Humans in Space Symposium
  • Banff, Alberta, CANADA May 18-25th 2003
study objectives
Study objectives
  • Personality Testing of astronauts
      • Examine population characteristics of astronauts
      • Compare selection and non selection testing results in astronauts
      • Compare selected and non selected astronauts
  • Comparison of astronauts and pilots
      • Performance implications
  • Gender differences
      • In Astronauts and normative groups on performance relevant traits
participants
Participants
  • Active astronauts
      • (N=66, 11f, 55m)
  • Final stage astronaut applicants
      • Successful (N=63, 12f, 51m)
      • Unsuccessful (N=196, 34f, 162m)
  • Commercial airline pilots
      • Check pilots
      • (N=91 , 6f, 85m)
  • Normative population
      • Undergraduate research subjects
      • (N=250, 124f, 136m)
method
Method
  • Personal Characteristics Inventory (PCI)
      • Multi-axial personality trait assessment battery
      • ~ 30-40 minutes, 255 items
  • NEO Five Factor Inventory (FFI) (Modified)
      • 5 scales, 8 items per scale
  • Non Jeopardy testing protocol
      • Testing results used for research, not for selection
testing battery
EPAQ

Instrumentality

Expressivity

Negative Instrumentality

Negative Expressivity

Verbal Aggressiveness

Negative Communion

WOFO

Mastery

Work Orientation

Competitiveness

JAS (modified)

Achievement Striving

Impatience Irritability

NEO FFI (Big 5 - modified)

Neuroticism**

Extraversion**

Openness**

Agreeableness**

Conscientiousness**

** validated 2001-2002

Testing Battery
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Correlations between The personal Characteristics Inventory (UT) and the NEO Five Factor Inventory (FFI)

Scale inter-correlations between the PCI and the NEO Five Factor Inventory (FFI), based upon 250 undergraduate students.

pci and performance
PCI and Performance
  • Flight deck management attitudes
      • Chidester, Helmreich, Gregorich, Geis (1991)
  • Pilot performance
      • Chidester, Foushee (1991)
  • Astronaut performance
      • Rose, Fogg, Helmreich & McFadden, (1994)
  • Military personnel
      • Sandal, Gronningsaeter, Eriksen, Gravabkmo, Birkeland, Ursin (1998)
  • Submarines
      • Sandal, Endersen, Vaernes, Ursin (1999)
  • Hyperbaric chambers
      • Sandal, Vaernes, Bergan, Warncke, Ursin (1996)
  • Polar groups
      • Sandal (2001); Bishop (2002);

Musson, Sandal, Harper, Helmreich (2002),

… Large body of existing research into human performance in space and analogue environments

big 5 and performance
Big 5 and Performance
  • Astronaut performance
      • Rose, Fogg, Helmreich & McFadden (1994)
  • Performance in Antarctica
      • Palinkas, Gunderson, Holland, Miller, Johnson (2000), UT ongoing
  • Polar personality characteristics
      • Steel, Suedfeld, Peri, Palinkas (1997);
  • Big 5 and behaviour – many studies
  • Big 5 and professional cultures (ongoing UT research)

…Comparability with a larger literature on both performance and mental health.

trait clusters and performance
Trait Clusters and Performance*
  • Right Stuff
      • High Instrumentality, High Expressivity
      • Low Neg. Instrumentality & Verbal Aggressiveness
  • Wrong Stuff
      • High Instrumentality, Work, Mastery
      • High Neg. Instrumentality, Verbal Aggressiveness
  • No Stuff
      • Low Instrumentality, Expressiveness
      • Low Mastery, Work Orientation

* As described in Helmreich, Wilhelm, and Chidester (1989), Personality Based Clusters as Predictors of Aviator Attitudes and Performance, 5th ISAP.

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* Sig. diff p<0.01

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* Sig. diff p<0.01

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* Sig. diff p<0.01

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* Sig. diff p<0.01

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* Sig. diff p<0.05

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* Sig. diff p<0.05

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* Sig. diff p<0.01

summary pci scales
Astronauts

Very High

Instrumentality

Mastery

Work Orientation

Achievement Striving

Normal

Expressivity

Low

Competitiveness

Negative Instrumentality

Summary – PCI scales

Pilots

  • High
    • Instrumentality
    • Mastery
    • Work Orientation
    • Achievement Striving
  • Normal
    • Expressivity
  • Low
    • Competitiveness
    • Negative Instrumentality
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* Sig. diff p<0.01

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* Sig. diff p<0.01

summary big 5 scales
Astronauts

High

Agreeableness

Conscientiousness

Openness (m)

Normal

Extraversion

Openness (m)

Low

Neuroticism

Summary – Big 5 scales

Pilots

  • High
    • Agreeableness
    • Conscientiousness
  • Normal
    • Extraversion
  • Low
    • Neuroticism
    • Openness
summary gender differences
Astronauts

Expressivity (active astros.)

Openness (active astros.)

Competitiveness (appl.)

Pilots

Low N – no analysis

Summary – Gender differences

Normative (higher N)

PCI

  • Expressivity
  • Neg Instrumentality
  • Neg Verbal Aggressiveness
  • Negative communion
  • Work Orientation

Big 5

  • Openness (m)
  • Agreeableness (f)
  • Conscientiousness (f)
findings
Findings
  • Systematic population differences
    • Astronaut vs normative
      • Both mean scale scores and
      • Reduced variance on differentiating traits
    • Pilots vs Astronauts and Normative
      • Intermediate between astronauts and students on achievement and motivation
  • Homogeneity of personality traits
      • Similarity among members appears to be a key element of the professional culture of these groups
  • Gender differences
    • Less pronounced among astronauts than normative
  • Astronaut Applicants
    • Minimal differentiation during final stages of selection
  • High variability among astronauts on many traits that have been shown to have performance implications
next steps
Next steps
  • Further studies of personality characteristics
      • analogue populations (Antarctic, aviation)
      • professional groups (pilots, physicians)
  • Explore the long term prediction of astronaut and analogue performance using personality data (underway)
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This research was fund by the National Aviation and Space Administration (NASA), Grant NAG9-1275 (Cultural and personality determinants of performance, R. Helmreich PI).

University of Texas

Human Factors Research Project

www.psy.utexas.edu