HSL Seminar: Rachel Bellisle and Golda Nguyen (Rm 33-218, 12/6, 12-1p)

Examining behavioral health and experiences from the general population in isolated and confined environments during the COVID-19 pandemic

Speakers:  Rachel Bellisle and Golda Nguyen, HSL


During the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing guidelines and mandates have been implemented to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19). As a result of social distancing, many individuals around the world transitioned to lifestyles that involve living and working within their homes for extended periods of time. The scale of people experiencing isolation in confined environments (ICE) presented a unique opportunity to gather insights from the general population about how ICE impacts behavioral health and wellbeing, with parallels to ICE in human spaceflight and extreme environments on Earth. The current paradigm created by the pandemic also creates a unique temporal component because the duration of the pandemic and the implementation of social distancing measures remained uncertain. The COVID-19 ICE study at the MIT Human Systems Lab aims to investigate changes in individuals’ mood and motivation during a period of extended social distancing with an unknown time duration. The results will provide insights into the behavioral impacts of ICE on the general population, as a contrast to previous ICE studies with astronaut-like populations, to better understand the resilience of individuals to ICE and what factors contribute to mood performance.