Distribution of mental stresses during conceptual design activities

Year: 2013
Editor: Udo Lindemann, Srinivasan V, Yong Se Kim, Sang Won Lee, John Clarkson, Gaetano Cascini
Author: Nguyen, Thanh An; Xu, Xu; Zeng, Yong
Series: ICED
Institution: Concordia University, Canada
Page(s): 287-296
ISBN: 978-1-904670-50-6
ISSN:  2220-4334


In this paper, we study how different mental stress levels are distributed in a conceptual design process. Firstly, we reviewed a Stroop Test experiment conducted earlier in our lab to confirm the use of heart rate variability (HRV) as a reliable index of mental stress. Secondly, we reported our experiment on seven designers; HRV data and body movements were recorded along with design processes. Design data was segmented and HRV parameter as indicator of mental stress was computed for each segment. Then the mental stresses were classified into seven levels. The result showed that most of the activities in a design process were performed at low levels of mental stress. The design activities reduce as the level of mental stress increases. No correlation was found between types of design activities and mental stress.

Keywords: Mental stress, heart rate variability (HRV), design activity, LF/HF ratio


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