Multitasking and Stressed? It Shows in Your Eyes


Are you feeling overworked, overwhelmed, overtired? If so, the size of your pupils and other eye behaviors may show it, according to a study from the University of Missouri in Columbia. The goal of the study was to find a way to learn more about the effects of multitasking on mental health, and the researchers found that pupil size changes erratically in response to high levels of stress.

They used motion-capture, eye-tracking technology to observe pupillary response as study participants worked and reacted to unexpected changes, such as alarms, in a simulated oil and gas refinery plant control room. The researchers found that behaviors like eye searching, or darting, and pupil size were predictable during routine tasks but became more erratic in response to complex scenarios and sudden changes.

This information could be used to develop a way to better assess workers’ mental workloads, improving productivity and safety. High levels of stress and fatigue can lead to negative changes in performance and an increase in mistakes.

Sourced from: University of Missouri