Is it really so bad? A review of positive experiences of personnel wintering over in Antarctica
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
For over a century scientists in Antarctica have primarily been concerned with the natural sciences in the disciplines of meteorology, glaciology, geology, oceanography and biology (Suedfeld and Weiss, 2000). It is only relatively recently that the social and behavioural sciences have been explored in Antarctica. There are no indigenous or permanent inhabitants of Antarctica, it is the only one whose inhabitants are primarily concerned with scientific research and it is an environment in which communities of different nationalities work and live together in (more or less) perfect harmony. As such, it is an extremely interesting place to study psychology and adaptations to new and unique environments. Despite harsh environmental conditions, humans have inhabited Antarctica for over 100 years, since it was discovered and ‘conquered’ during the heroic era. Since the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58 and the signing of the Antarctic Treaty System, there has been continuous human presence on the ice in the form of isolated research stations, many of which are occupied throughout the entire year. Working and living in Antarctica introduces some unusual and interesting experiences and opportunities. The unique situation requires personnel living in Antarctica to undergo a degree of psychological adaptation to the isolated, confined and environmental (referred to as ICE) circumstances experienced. Psychological research gathered on personnel living in Antarctica and other unusual ICE environments (for example; remote military posts, submarines and outer space stations) have been clustered on the negative rather than the positive effects (Mocellin, 1995). It is important that an accurate and balanced viewpoint on polar psychological experiences is understood, not only for its appropriate application in the Antarctic and Arctic, but also in analogous extreme and unusual environments such as extended space flights and space habitation. The objective of this paper is to review the growing body of literature that suggests in addition to traditional psychological reporting of negative experiences for personnel living in Antarctica there are positive ones as well.
- Literature Reviews