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The influence of mental fatigue on facial EMG activity during a simulated workday

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Author: Veldhuizen, I.J.T. · Gaillard, A.W.K. · Vries, J. de
Institution: TNO Technische Menskunde
Source:Biological Psychology, 1, 63, 59 - 78
Identifier: 12013
doi: doi:10.1016/S0301-0511(03)00025-5
Keywords: Biology · fatigue · facial expressions · emotions · questionnaires · Emotional exhaustion · Facial EMG activity · Fatigue · Questionnaires · adult · article · controlled study · dysthymia · electromyogram · face muscle · female · human · human experiment · job performance · male · mobilization · normal human · priority journal · questionnaire · simulation · working time · Adult · Electromyography · Facial Expression · Facial Muscles · Female · Humans · Male · Mental Fatigue · Questionnaires · Time Factors


The present study investigated whether facial EMG measures are sensitive to the effects of fatigue. EMG activity of the corrugator and frontalis muscles was recorded during and after a simulated workday. Fatigue was evaluated in four ways: (a) the building up of fatigue effects during the workday, (b) the building up of fatigue during a test period, (c) examination of after-effects of the workday in two test sessions in the evening, and (d) comparison of subjects with a high-and low-score on an Emotional Exhaustion questionnaire. EMG activity decreased during the workday and increased again in the evening. EMG activity also increased during a test period, reflecting increased mobilization to maintain performance. High-score subjects showed a lower level of EMG activity throughout the entire workday. They reported a higher need for recovery, experienced the workday as more fatiguing, and were less well rested when getting up. EMG measures seem to reflect that high-score subjects have problems with investing sufficient energy to maintain performance during a workday.(P)