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“Stress resilience is detectable in the eye”


No more stress-related sick leave: Why neuroscientist Marcus Grüschow measures pupils.

What can our pupils tell us about our stress levels, Mr. Grüschow?

We did trials with 48 test subjects. We set them tasks, asked them about their subjective perception of stress during a six-month stress period at work, and compared their answers by measuring pre-stress pupil dilation. Our findings showed that pupil dilation can predict an individual’s perceived stress level. In other words, we found a simple stress test that can’t be manipulated.

You’ve been conducting research in the field of neuropsychology for more than 20 years, most recently for nine years at the University of Zurich’s Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics. What, in particular, do you find fascinating about this new discovery?

Anxiety and depression disorders are a huge problem in our society. An estimated ten percent of the world’s population suffers from them. More often than not, the trigger is excessive stress at work.

How can a stress test change this?

Our iris test can be used in recruitment to determine the types of tasks that might increase the stress levels of a job applicant. The company therefore already has an idea of an applicant’s so-called stress resilience even before hiring him or her. This helps to narrow down a group of suitable applicants and opens up new, stress-related training opportunities.

So, you have developed a traditional B2B business. Are you already in touch with companies?

Negotiations are underway. There is great interest. After all, stress makes people ill, they are absent from work, and cost companies a lot of money.


Marcus Grüschow attended the Business Concept Course in Autumn 2020