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Stress and Perception of Emotional Stimuli: Long-term Stress Rewiring the Brain.

Authors
  • Khosrowabadi, Reza1
  • 1 Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran. , (Iran)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Basic and clinical neuroscience
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2018
Volume
9
Issue
2
Pages
107–120
Identifiers
DOI: 10.29252/NIRP.BCN.9.2.107
PMID: 29967670
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Long-term stressful situations can drastically influence one's mental life. However, the effect of mental stress on recognition of emotional stimuli needs to be explored. In this study, recognition of emotional stimuli in a stressful situation was investigated. Four emotional conditions, including positive and negative states in both low and high levels of arousal were analyzed. Twenty-six healthy right-handed university students were recruited within or after examination period. Participants' stress conditions were measured using the Perceived Stress Scale-14 (PSS-14). All participants were exposed to some audio-visual emotional stimuli while their brains responses' were measured using the Electroencephalography (EEG) technique. During the experiment, the subject's perception of emotional stimuli is evaluated using the Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM) questionnaire. After recording, EEG signatures of emotional states were estimated from connectivity patterns among 8 brain regions. Connectivity patterns were calculated using Phase Slope Index (PSI), Directed Transfer Function (DTF), and Generalized Partial Direct Coherence (GPDC) methods. The EEG-based connectivity features were then labeled with SAM responses. Subsequently, the labeled features were categorized using two different classifiers. Classification accuracy of the system was validated by leave-one-out method. As expected, performance of the system is significantly improved by grouping the subjects to stressed and stress-free groups. EEG-based connectivity pattern was influenced by mental stress level. Changes in connectivity patterns related to long-term mental stress have overlapped with changes caused by emotional stimuli. Interestingly, these changes are detectable from EEG data in eyes-closed condition.

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