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J Physiol Anthropol. 2011;30(4):141-6.

Effects of changing illuminance on somatosensory function.

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Department of Psychiatry, Chiba University Hospital, Japan.


Artificial sources of illumination can be easily used, regardless of the time and place, to improve visibility at night and in dark places. Illuminance and color temperature are particularly important factors since they are known to elicit physiological effects. However, the relationship between changes in illuminance and somatosensory function has not been sufficiently clarified. Thus, the purpose of this study was to construct a laboratorial model to examine the effects of lowering or raising illuminance on somatosensory function. Three illuminance levels (200 lx, 50 lx, and 0 lx), which were changed using all combinations, and an artificial sensory stimulus maintained at a constant intensity were presented to the subjects of this study. Objective sensory function in response to the sensory stimulus was investigated by somatosensory evoked potential (SEP), and subjective sensory evaluation in response to the stimulus was investigated using a visual analogue scale (VAS) and by interview. In many cases, the SEP amplitude and VAS value tended to decrease when illuminance was lowered and tended to increase when illuminance was raised. However, in a few cases, SEP amplitude and VAS value tended to increase in spite of the low illuminance. The occurrence of attention responses and unpleasant emotional responses caused by lowering the illuminance seems to be related to this study finding.

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