Assessment of Micro Movements during Acute Psychosocial Stress

In this subproject of D03, we investigate micro movements during acute psychosocial stress. Micro movements are defined as skin vibrations and movements induced by respiration and heart beats, but also by fasciculations or sweat processes. Changes in such are modulated by the autonomic nervous system (ANS), in particular of the sympathetic nervous system, which is reliably activated during acute stress. So far, these parameters have primarily been assessed using traditional methods, such as electrophysiology (electrocardiography, electromyography, or electrodermal activity) that require attaching electrodes to participants and might limit them in their typical behavior.

Thus, our aim is to explore how the assessment of micro movements using radar- and laser-based, contactless sensor technologies can be used to measure the established markers during acute psychosocial stress, such as heart rate (variability) (HR and HRV), pre-ejection period (PEP), respiration, muscle movements, and sweat. These unobtrusive measurements can help us to gain a better understanding of the human stress response.

Examples of micro movement assessment during acute stress