A recent study showed that thermoregulatory-like cardiovascular responses can be invoked simply by exposure to visual information, even though the thermal environments are neutral and unchanged. However, it was not clear how such responses affect actual human body temperature regulation. We investigated whether such visually invoked physiological responses can substantively affect human core body temperature in a thermally challenging cold environment. Participants comprised 13 graduate or undergraduate students viewing different video images containing hot, cold, or no scenery, while room temperature was gradually lowered from 28 to 16 °C over 80 min. Rectal temperature, mean skin temperature, core to skin temperature gradient, and oxygen consumption were measured during the experiment. Rectal temperature was significantly lower when hot video images were presented compared to when control video images were presented. Oxygen consumption was comparable among all video images, but core to skin temperature gradient was significantly lower when hot video images were presented. This result suggests that visual information, even in the absence of thermal energy, can affect human thermodynamics and core body temperature.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis