General aim of BYMBOS is to create a proof of concept for a dynamic model that can describe the probability to develop musculoskeletal conditions related to stress, both physical and psychological. During this project we divide this general aim into two research objectives (RO).
RO1 Design a holistic approach to wellbeing and learning
Since stress can impact posture and muscular contraction, that in turn can impact breathing, creating more stress, and all these impact over students' performances, it is important to identify the relationship among these points and find a way to break the negative interaction. The goal of RO1 is to demonstrate that breathing and posture can be related to psychological and physical stress, identify the relationship among them and verify how these can affect learning. Given the specific focus of the study, data to analyze cannot be simply obtained using shared databases, but must be collected designing a specific experimental campaign that reflects the needs of the analysis. In this pilot study we will focus on the following Research Activities:
(RA1.1) Defining the triangular link among posture, breathing and stress-level.
At first a campaign of data collection will be conducted to define the baseline of each volunteer. This information will identify subjects that are already able to self-regulate their breathing and level of stress and that will be therefore compared to the others in order to identify possible differences in the baseline of the students.
(RA1.2) Effect of stress over learning in collaborative tasks
A collaborative task will be defined as previously published (Vujovic et al., 2020) but with the aim to monitor real time movement, breathing and index of stress, like temperature and heart rate. These datas will be compared to the one of RA1.1 and it will be possible to verify if the students that presented the best self regulation capacities at the baseline are actually the one showing better collaboration capabilities.
RO2 Methods of nonlinear analysis
Linear analysis is a powerful and easy to use tool. Almost any signal can be assumed linear in the neighborhood of a studied point. However, in the presence of several factors it becomes very risky to assume the absence of any nonlinear behaviour or interaction and linear models can give results very different from reality. For this reason we aim to identify nonlinear relationships that can be used to model the development of students' performance based over their ability to self-regulate. Given the exploratory nature of this project the definition of such models will be experimental and based over two Research Activities.
(RA2.1) Identification of nonlinear relations
The analysis performed will aim to describe the triangular relationship among breathing, posture and self-regulation both at a baseline and during relevant teaching tasks. These relationships will be statistical and will take into consideration the variability related to each of the analyzed variables and compare them to the biological variability of each individual. It will identify the leading parameters and therefore reduce the number of needed variables describing the nonlinear relationship among the studied variables.
(RA2.2) Stability of the dynamic system
Given the limited time and resources of the project, this RA will be mainly exploratory. Starting from the set of nonlinear equations obtained in RA2.1 a dynamic system can be developed describing how the initial value of a system can affect its development. However, due to the nonlinear nature of the system, small variations in the initial value might cause great variation in the prediction and possible instability of the model. The activity will focus mainly in the identification and study of eventual fixed points and their meaning.