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In Computer methods and programs in biomedicine

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE : In recent years, stress and mental health have been considered as important worldwide concerns. Stress detection using physiological signals such as electrocardiogram (ECG), skin conductance (SC), electromyogram (EMG) and electroencephalogram (EEG) is a traditional approach. However, the effect of stress on the EMG signal of different muscles and the efficacy of combination of the EMG and other biological signals for stress detection have not been taken into account yet. This paper presents a comprehensive review of the EMG signal of the right and left trapezius and right and left erector spinae muscles for multi-level stress recognition. Also, the ECG signal was employed to evaluate the efficacy of EMG signals for stress detection.

METHODS : Both EMG and ECG signals were acquired simultaneously from 34 healthy students (23 females and 11 males, aged 20-37 years). Mental arithmetic, Stroop color-word test, time pressure, and stressful environment were employed to induce stress in the laboratory.

RESULTS : The accuracies of stress recognition in two, three and four levels were 100%, 97.6%, and 96.2%, respectively, obtained from the distinct combination of feature selection and machine learning algorithms.

CONCLUSIONS : The comparison of stress detection accuracies resulted from EMG and ECG indicators demonstrated the strong ability and the effectiveness of EMG signal for multi-level stress detection.

Pourmohammadi Sara, Maleki Ali


Electrocardiogram, Electromyogram, Erector spinae muscle, Heart rate variability, Multi-level stress detection, Stress-inducing protocol, Trapezius muscle