Investigation of Three Potential Stress Inducement Tasks During On-Road Driving

Marcel Mathissen, Nikica Hennes, Fabian Faller, Steffen Leonhardt, Daniel Teichmann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


A driving study was performed to induce stress with 24 participants performing different inducement tasks (n-back task, Sing-a-Song Stress Test and noise exposure). Both performance-based measures (Tactile Detection Response Task) as well as subjective measures were recorded to assess the driver state. Subjective ratings indicate that stress was most successfully induced on a group level with the n-back task with high inter-individual variation. The average response times doubled during the n-back task for a simultaneously performed tactile detection response task compared to baseline response times. Sympathetic nervous activation resulting in the increase of heart rate, respiration rate and decrease in heart rate variability (RMSSD) was found as a physiological reaction on stress-inducing secondary tasks. The most prominent physiological responses were found during the modified Sing-a-Song Stress Test. Subjective ratings on the perceived stress level and physiological response rarely correlated. This study provided reference data for driver state algorithm development in the EU-funded project ADAS&ME.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)4823-4832
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • Automation
  • driver
  • ecg
  • Heart rate variability
  • hrv.
  • Physiology
  • Protocols
  • sensor
  • Stress
  • Task analysis
  • Vehicles
  • workload
  • hrv


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