Scientific article
Open access

Microgravity induces overconfidence in perceptual decision-making

Published inScientific reports, vol. 13, no. 1, 9727
Publication date2023-06-15

Does gravity affect decision-making? This question comes into sharp focus as plans for interplanetary human space missions solidify. In the framework of Bayesian brain theories, gravity encapsulates a strong prior, anchoring agents to a reference frame via the vestibular system, informing their decisions and possibly their integration of uncertainty. What happens when such a strong prior is altered? We address this question using a self-motion estimation task in a space analog environment under conditions of altered gravity. Two participants were cast as remote drone operators orbiting Mars in a virtual reality environment on board a parabolic flight, where both hyper- and microgravity conditions were induced. From a first-person perspective, participants viewed a drone exiting a cave and had to first predict a collision and then provide a confidence estimate of their response. We evoked uncertainty in the task by manipulating the motion’s trajectory angle. Post-decision subjective confidence reports were negatively predicted by stimulus uncertainty, as expected. Uncertainty alone did not impact overt behavioral responses (performance, choice) differentially across gravity conditions. However microgravity predicted higher subjective confidence, especially in interaction with stimulus uncertainty. These results suggest that variables relating to uncertainty affect decision-making distinctly in microgravity, highlighting the possible need for automatized, compensatory mechanisms when considering human factors in space research.

  • Bayes Theorem
  • Brain
  • Gravity, Altered
  • Humans
  • Space Flight
  • Uncertainty
  • Weightlessness
  • Research Grant Foundation for Scientific Research at the UZH - [STWF-22- 004]
  • European Commission - Low-latency Perception and Action for Agile Vision-based Flight [864042]
Citation (ISO format)
LOUED, Leyla et al. Microgravity induces overconfidence in perceptual decision-making. In: Scientific reports, 2023, vol. 13, n° 1, p. 9727. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-36775-0
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal2045-2322

Technical informations

Creation07/04/2023 10:09:09 AM
First validation07/27/2023 1:35:55 PM
Update time07/27/2023 1:35:55 PM
Status update07/27/2023 1:35:55 PM
Last indexation01/18/2024 12:29:42 AM
All rights reserved by Archive ouverte UNIGE and the University of GenevaunigeBlack