The Behavioral Biology of Teams: Multidisciplinary Contributions to Social Dynamics in Isolated, Confined, and Extreme Environments.Front Psychol 2019; 10:2571FP
Teams in isolated, confined, and extreme (ICE) environments face many risks to behavioral health, social dynamics, and team performance. Complex long-duration ICE operational settings such as spaceflight and military deployments are largely closed systems with tightly coupled components, often operating as autonomous microsocieties within isolated ecosystems. As such, all components of the system are presumed to interact and can positively or negatively influence team dynamics through direct or indirect pathways. However, modern team science frameworks rarely consider inputs to the team system from outside the social and behavioral sciences and rarely incorporate biological factors despite the brain and associated neurobiological systems as the nexus of input from the environment and necessary substrate for emergent team dynamics and performance. Here, we provide a high-level overview of several key neurobiological systems relevant to social dynamics. We then describe several key components of ICE systems that can interact with and on neurobiological systems as individual-level inputs influencing social dynamics over the team life cycle-specifically food and nutrition, exercise and physical activity, sleep/wake/work rhythms, and habitat design and layout. Finally, we identify opportunities and strategic considerations for multidisciplinary research and development. Our overarching goal is to encourage multidisciplinary expansion of team science through (1) prospective horizontal integration of variables outside the current bounds of team science as significant inputs to closed ICE team systems and (2) bidirectional vertical integration of biology as the necessary inputs and mediators of individual and team behavioral health and performance. Prospective efforts to account for the behavioral biology of teams in ICE settings through an integrated organizational neuroscience approach will enable the field of team science to better understand and support teams who work, live, serve, and explore in extreme environments.