In the present study we quantify stress by measuring transient perspiratory responses on the perinasal area through thermal imaging. These responses prove to be sympathetically driven and hence, a likely indicator of stress processes in the brain. Armed with the unobtrusive measurement methodology we developed, we were able to monitor stress responses in the context of surgical training, the quintessence of human dexterity. We show that in dexterous tasking under critical conditions, novices attempt to perform a task's step equally fast with experienced individuals. We further show that while fast behavior in experienced individuals is afforded by skill, fast behavior in novices is likely instigated by high stress levels, at the expense of accuracy. Humans avoid adjusting speed to skill and rather grow their skill to a predetermined speed level, likely defined by neurophysiological latency.
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