Graduation Date

Summer 2018

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Psychology, option Academic Research

Committee Chair Name

Amanda Hahn

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Gregg Gold

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Carrie Aigner

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



The stress response reflects a coordinated pattern of physiological changes that serves the adaptive function of increasing an organism’s ability to cope with situations that require action or defense. The changes in blood flow associated with the stress response may be detectable using the relatively new research technique of functional infrared thermal imaging (fITI). The present study was designed to determine the time-course and topography of temperature changes in human faces during the experience of a stressor. Infrared images were taken from 29 female participants while they completed the mental arithmetic component of the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). Continuously self-reported stress levels confirmed that this task caused a significant increase in stress levels. Skin temperature was measured from 5 facial regions of interest (ROIs: forehead, periorbital, nasal, cheeks, and perioral). Stress caused a significant increase in the forehead and cheek regions, and a significant decrease in the perioral region. These results demonstrated that stress is detectable from facial skin using thermography. However, the ability of this technique to distinguish between different affective states (e.g., stress vs embarrassment) remains to be determined. As such, more research is needed before fITI is deemed a reliable tool for measuring affective states in real-world settings such as airports.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location