The skin potential level of facial biologically active zones as indicators of response to negative TV news depending on the level of emotional burnout in students

S. V. Tukaiev, S. V. Fedorchuk, L. V. Chikina, T. I. Gerasko, I. G. Zyma, A. M. Zaichenko, Yu. D. Havrylets, V. V. Rizun, V. B. Bogdanov, Yu. P. Gorgo

Abstract


Introduction. The problem of diagnostics development of various aspects of mental state and formation of stress is very relevant. The level of the skin electric potential is one of the main and reliable assessment criterion of functional human state. The skin potential level (SPL) of facial biologically active zones (BAZs) reflects the level of background activation of brain structures and the level of mental stress. Emotional burnout syndrome refers to a form of stress which is characterized by partial or total loss of emotions. That is why electrodermal potentials can mirror the formation of emotional burnout and emotional stimulation response.

Purpose. The aim of the study was to detect the changes of SPL in symmetric biologically active zones of face skin (frontal, superciliary, paranasal, temporal, periotic and postaural) under looking at emotionally-accented stimuli (TV news frames) depending on the level of emotional burnout.

Methods. 31 healthy volunteers (women and men) - first-third year students (Mage = 19.07, SD = 1.91 years, from 17 to 23 years) were recruited from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Educational and Scientific Centre “Institute of Biology” and Faculty of Psychology, and participated for course credit. The task of participants was to follow the appearance of a set consisted of 75 negative and 75 neutral images from TV news stories. Skin potential level was recorded via nonpolarizable silver electrodes from the symmetric biologically active zones of face skin (frontal, superciliary, paranasal, temporal, periotic and postaural). At the end of the experiment the participants assessed each set of images on the scales of "relaxing - activating" and "unpleasant - pleasant". To determine the stages of burnout we used the Boyko “Syndrome of emotional burnout” test adapted for students by Tukaiev and Vasheka. The Mann-Witney criterion was carried out to compare independent samples.

Results. Overall the SPL amplitude in non-stressed individuals was greater in superciliary, paranasal, temporal, periotic and postaural BAZs. We indicated that formation of Anxiety Tension and Exhaustion stages is accompanied by equal decrease in SPL amplitude (approx 10 mV) whereas SPL changes under formation of Resistance stage were more significant (approx. 20 mV). TV-news frames were evaluated on scale "unpleasant - pleasant" as follows: neutral imagess were regarded as more pleasant, negative – more unpleasant, on a scale "relaxing - activating" negative images make a more activating effect than neutral one. Our results demonstrated that emotionally-accented stimuli have different impact on the level of the skin electric potential depending on the burnout formation. The SPL amplitude in the right postaural BAZs was less in response to the emotional stimulation under formation of Anxiety Tension.

Conclusion. The formation of burnout reduced the prestarting initial emotional tension and response strength to "external" negative emotional stimuli. Our data indicate that electrodermal potentials can serve as objective criteria of formation of emotional burnout and subjective evaluation of the emotional content of the stimuli depending on the initial mental state.


Keywords


skin potential level (SPL); biologically active zones (BAZs); burnout

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