Neil de Joux, University of Nottingham
The measurement of physical responses in relation to psychological states has a long history. Galvanic skin response (GSR), for example, has been used as a measurement of emotion-based arousal or emotional reactions (Lader, 1967; Lader & Matthews, 1968; Lyyken & Venables, 1971). Heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) are commonly employed as measures of workload related stress in a number of contexts, including piloting (Roscoe, 1992), surgery (Czyzewska et al., 1983), university exams (Migliorni, 2010), exposure air pollution (Magari et al., 2001) and general office work (Hjortskov et al., 2004).
One of the main challenges emerging from the physiological measurement literature, specifically that of GSR and HRV, is how to confidently map these physiological measurements to the appropriate psychological states within different socio-technical contexts, and how this may be implemented into a meaningful real world system. High individual variability, limited technology, and lack of standardised measurement are factors that have contributed to this challenge (Lazarus, Speisman & Mordkoff, 1963; Lee et al., 2016; Phitayakorn et al., 2015; Picard & Healey, 1997). This paper explores some of these existing issues surrounding the use of GSR and HRV as real-time indicators of stress, and provide examples of how these issues may be addressed as part of an EU-funded Horizon 2020 project; PASSME (www.passme.eu).