What kind of psychological evaluation do they do to qualify or select people to be astronauts?


Psychological stability is considered among the most important criteria for choosing astronauts. Generally, this isn’t incredibly difficult given the types of backgrounds the candidates come from such as fighter pilot, engineers with doctoral degrees, CIA and FBI agents among others. These are careers that already generally either require stringent psychological evaluation or which are high stress such that psychological weakness would likely manifest at some point.

The Behavioral Health and Performance department at NASA is tasked with two functions in astronaut selection. They must determine who is suitable which is the opt-in function and who should be disqualified which is the opt-out function. The psychological selection process assesses these things separately. The first part of the evaluation involves an initial set of interviews. After this, applicants are evaluated to determine if they are suitable to become an astronaut. Factors assessed include such things as the ability to remain calm under pressure and the use of emotional regulation skills, problem-solving ability, how the applicant functions in a group, personality, resilience, adaptability, flexibility, social skills and emotional lability among other things.

After the suitability interviews candidates to determine if there are reasons to disqualify them. A candidate may be disqualified due to clinical psychopathology. There are some unique stressors, and challenges astronauts must cope with in space so any type of existing psychiatric problem will most likely disqualify them. Marital problems and family problems can also contribute to being disqualified.

In addition to these interviews, applicants participate in field exercises at the Johnson Space Center to simulate some of the unique challenges of living and working in space. The specifics of these trials are not disclosed to the public for security reasons.

Some of the assessment methods that are used to evaluate and select astronaut candidates include structured interviews, validated paper-and-pencil personality and cognitive measures, and situational judgment tests that mimic tasks performed in space. Again, the specifics of the subject matter and actual assessment methods used to measure psychological factors are not disclosed to prevent applicants from manipulating the selection process by “faking good.”

Updated on July 27, 2018

Original Article:

Keeping Astronauts Sane
By Natalie Frank

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)