Mental Stress Management Using fNIRS Directed Connectivity and Audio Stimulation

Rateb Katmah, Fares Al-Shargie, Usman Tariq, Fabio Babiloni, Fadwa Al-Mughairbi, Hasan Al-Nashash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we propose a method to enhance cognitive vigilance and mitigate mental stress in the workplace. We designed an experiment to induce stress by putting participants through Stroop Color-Word Task (SCWT) under time constraint and negative feedback. Then, we used 16 Hz binaural beats auditory stimulation (BBs) for 10 minutes to enhance cognitive vigilance and mitigate stress. Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), salivary alpha-amylase, and behavioral reactions were used to determine the stress level. The level of stress was assessed using reaction time to stimuli (RT), accuracy of target detection, directed functional connectivity based on partial directed coherence, graph theory measures, and the laterality index (LI). We discovered that 16 Hz BBs mitigated mental stress by substantially increasing the target detection accuracy by 21.83% ( p < 0.001 ) and decreasing salivary alpha amylase levels by 30.28% ( p < 0.01 ). The partial directed coherence, graph theory analysis measures, and LI results indicated that mental stress decreased information flow from the left to the right prefrontal cortex under stress, whereas the 16 Hz BBs had a major impact on enhancing vigilance and mitigating mental stress via boosting connectivity network on the dorsolateral and left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1086-1096
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Vigilance enhancement
  • functional connectivity
  • functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)
  • partial directed coherence (PDC)
  • salivary alpha amylase
  • stress mitigation
  • stroop color-word task

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • General Neuroscience
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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