EEG based classification of long-term stress using psychological labeling

Sanay Muhammad Umar Saeed, Syed Muhammad Anwar*, Humaira Khalid, Muhammad Majid, Ulas Bagci

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Stress research is a rapidly emerging area in the field of electroencephalography (EEG) signal processing. The use of EEG as an objective measure for cost effective and personalized stress management becomes important in situations like the nonavailability of mental health facilities. In this study, long-term stress was classified with machine learning algorithms using resting state EEG signal recordings. The labeling for the stress and control groups was performed using two currently accepted clinical practices: (i) the perceived stress scale score and (ii) expert evaluation. The frequency domain features were extracted from five-channel EEG recordings in addition to the frontal and temporal alpha and beta asymmetries. The alpha asymmetry was computed from four channels and used as a feature. Feature selection was also performed to identify statistically significant features for both stress and control groups (via t-test). We found that support vector machine was best suited to classify long-term human stress when used with alpha asymmetry as a feature. It was observed that the expert evaluation-based labeling method had improved the classification accuracy by up to 85.20%. Based on these results, it is concluded that alpha asymmetry may be used as a potential bio-marker for stress classification, when labels are assigned using expert evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1886
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Electroencephalography
  • Expert evaluation
  • Long-term stress
  • Machine learning
  • Perceived stress scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Instrumentation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Biochemistry


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