What makes a person more competitive and enduring? Scientists from South Ural State University are searching for an answer to this question. A research by psychologists of the SUSU Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities and School of Medical Biology will allow determining resources of stress resistance, and predict and develop optimal strategies of behavior.
Project activity and stress: a research under conditions of uncertainty
“Stress resistance in project activity: psychophysiological resources and mathematical models” is an interdisciplinary scientific research which obtained grant of the Beginning of Big Science contest held within the frameworks of Project 5-100. About prospects of the proposed method of studying human resources in a state of stress told us the author of the research project, senior lecturer of the Department of Developmental Psychology and Age Related Counseling, research fellow of the School of Medical Biology’s Laboratory of Developmental Psychology and Psychophysiology of Stress Resistance and Creativity, Yulia Dmitrieva.
Photo: Instant diagnostics of activation of cerebral hemispheres
“Research of molecular mechanisms of chronic emotional stress development nowadays is the prioritized area of research, and our project is implemented within this area. Our goal is studying psychophysiological resources of stress resistance, identification of human resources under conditions of uncertainty or intensive activity which includes project activity. We used the project activity model which includes 3 stages that are potentially stressful for its participants. At the first stage, a person is in the state of uncertainty because he needs to choose conditions, identify his possibilities with demands of the employer or the customer. The second stage is presentation of the project, and at the third stage its results get announced.”
As a result, the model for researching resources of human stress resistance has been developed. Students were offered to pass an exam in the form of research project. During the first stage they individually chose conditions, timeline, topic of a project, etc. After a certain period of time they presented results. At the moment, there are more than 60 students of various specialties who took part in the research.
Freedom of choice is one of the most stressful situations
“For the research of psychophysiological resources of stress resistance we use a device of comprehensive apparatus diagnostics – the activation-meter of Yu.Tsagarelli. It allows diagnosing activation of cerebral hemispheres, asymmetry of left and right hemispheres. All a student needs to do is putting a hand to electrodes; the devise takes readings of necessary information on the basis of galvanic skin reaction. Approximately one third of participants had big rise-ups at one of the three stages. For example, situations of uncertainty and presence of free choice are the most frequent causes of stress,” notes Yulia Aleksandrovna.
Application of the mathematical apparatus will allow predicting reaction of a person and determine how well he will be able to overcome stressful events at different stages of project activity. The main objective of scientists is diagnostics of inner, personal, psychophysiological human resources which in turn will allow developing models of human resources’ dynamics and optimal behavior strategies during project activity.
Photo: Activation-meter of Yu. Tsagarelli
Mathematical prediction: how human resources will change?
“Our research is based on combination of diagnostics methods of different resource levels (psychophysiological, personal, social-and-psychological, social-and-cultural) and methods of mathematical modeling. On the basis of psychological techniques it is possible to determine, which resources a person has at the present time. But it is unclear whether the resources will remain after half a year or a year, whether the person has some concealed abilities and how he is going to behave in a stressful situation. In order to answer these questions, a research should be carried out under conditions of stress, in real project activity; methods of mathematical modeling for predicting the dynamics of psychophysiological resources of a person also should be used.”
Results of the research can be used in project management, in project activity outside the education process. Besides, this gives the opportunity to analyze personal resources of a specific individual, which in the future can become applicable in counseling and teaching activity. At the present time, 2 research articles indexed in Scopus and Web of Science databases and a monograph have been published on the topic. Future plans of the research team are connected with carrying out interdisciplinary research at the intersection of mathematics, physics and psychology, and with an extension of the existing data base.