Under Pressure: Sensing Stress of Computer Users

April 26, 2014


Hernandez J., Paredes P., Roseway A., and Czerwinski M., "Under Pressure: Sensing Stress of Computer Users," In Proceedings for the Computer and Human Interaction Conference (CHI), Toronto, Canada, April 2014.


Recognizing when computer users are stressed can help reduce their frustration and prevent a large variety of negative health conditions associated with chronic stress. However, measuring stress non-invasively and continuously at work remains an open challenge. This work explores the possibility of using a pressure-sensitive keyboard and a capacitive mouse to discriminate between stressful and relaxed conditions in a laboratory study. During a 30-minute session, 24 participants performed several computerized tasks consisting of expressive writing, text transcription, and mouse clicking. During the stressful conditions, the large majority of the participants showed significantly increased typing pressure (>79% of the participants) and more contact with the surface of the mouse (75% of the participants). We discuss the potential implications of this work and provide recommendations for future work. Author Keywords Stress measurement; pressure-sensitive keyboard; capacitive mouse; Affective Computing.

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