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Neural Networks: A Method of Predicting Stress?

03.06.2019 Author: Psychologist Pavel Khoroshutin
How to predict stress

Now we may prepare for our stress beforehand!

A new study by a group of scientists from Columbia University may help tackle chronic stress. Researchers have created a neural network that predicts the stress level of a person with an accuracy of 85% based on the analysis of recorded parameters and feedback.

How the study was conducted?

Throughout the year, scientists monitored the activity of 79 citizens of New York using fitness bracelets. The smart devices took into account the intensity and regularity of training, and also recorded the physical parameters of the body. Twice a day, participants received an SMS message with questions on the bracelet:

  • In the morning – “Do you think this day will be stressful in general?”, “How long are you planning to train today?”;
  • In the evening – “How hard was it today?”, “What sort of day do you think awaits you tomorrow?”.

For a preliminary calculation of the stress level “for tomorrow”, the data and responses for the last three days were analysed. If the participant forgot to answer the questions, the data for all three days were not taken into account. Additionally, the length of daylight hours, air temperature and precipitation were recorded – this data was taken from the report of the city meteorological station.

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What was found out

The data obtained helped to reveal interesting patterns:

  • The more actively a person went in for sports, the lower the stress level was.
  • Hot weather increased the stress level for most of the participants in the experiment.
  • It is interesting that when a person forgot to answer the questions, and the three-day data was not taken into account, the stress level in the following days turned out to be higher than usual.

Predicting the level of stress makes it possible to intervene promptly and prevent its progress. For example, if a doctor knows that inclement weather drives the patient into stress, and, according to the forecast for tomorrow it will be raining and the usual jogging will be cancelled, he can give appropriate recommendations to stabilize the condition.

Perhaps soon, technology and smart devices will help us prevent stress at the household level too.