Human stress classification using EEG signals in response to music tracks

Comput Biol Med. 2019 Apr:107:182-196. doi: 10.1016/j.compbiomed.2019.02.015. Epub 2019 Feb 25.


Stress is inevitably experienced by almost every person at some stage of their life. A reliable and accurate measurement of stress can give an estimate of an individual's stress burden. It is necessary to take essential steps to relieve the burden and regain control for better health. Listening to music is a way that can help in breaking the hold of stress. This study examines the effect of music tracks in English and Urdu language on human stress level using brain signals. Twenty-seven subjects including 14 males and 13 females having Urdu as their first language, with ages ranging from 20 to 35 years, voluntarily participated in the study. The electroencephalograph (EEG) signals of the participants are recorded, while listening to different music tracks by using a four-channel MUSE headband. Participants are asked to subjectively report their stress level using the state and trait anxiety questionnaire. The English music tracks used in this study are categorized into four genres i.e., rock, metal, electronic, and rap. The Urdu music tracks consist of five genres i.e., famous, patriotic, melodious, qawali, and ghazal. Five groups of features including absolute power, relative power, coherence, phase lag, and amplitude asymmetry are extracted from the preprocessed EEG signals of four channels and five bands, which are used by the classifier for stress classification. Four classifier algorithms namely sequential minimal optimization, stochastic decent gradient, logistic regression (LR), and multilayer perceptron are used to classify the subject's stress level into two and three classes. It is observed that LR performs well in identifying stress with the highest reported accuracy of 98.76% and 95.06% for two- and three-level classification respectively. For understanding gender, language, and genre related discriminations in stress, a t-test and one-way analysis of variance is used. It is evident from results that English music tracks have more influence on stress level reduction as compared to Urdu music tracks. Among the genres of both languages, a noticeable difference is not found. Moreover, significant difference is found in the scores reported by females as compared to males. This indicates that the stress behavior of females is more sensitive to music as compared to males.

Keywords: Classification; Electroencephalography (EEG); Feature extraction; Human stress; Music; State trait anxiety inventory (STAI).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electroencephalography / instrumentation
  • Electroencephalography / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music / psychology*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Stress, Psychological / classification*
  • Young Adult