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Health Promot Perspect. 2019 Jan 23;9(1):55-64. doi: 10.15171/hpp.2019.07. eCollection 2019.

The impact of indoor air temperature on the executive functions of human brain and the physiological responses of body.

Author information

1
Department of Occupational Hygiene, Research Center for Health Sciences, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran.
2
Research Center for Health Sciences, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran.
3
Center of Excellence for Occupational Health, Occupational Health & Safety Research Center, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran.
4
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Modeling of Non-communicable Diseases Research Center, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran.

Abstract

Background: This study aimed to investigate the effect size (ES) of air temperature on the executive functions of human brain and body physiological responses. Methods: In this empirical study, the participants included 35 male students who were exposed to 4 air temperature conditions of 18°C, 22°C, 26°C and 30°C in 4 separate sessions in an air conditioning chamber. The participants were simultaneously asked to take part in the N-back test. The accuracy, electrocardiogram (ECG) signals and the respiration rate were recorded to determine the effect of air temperature. Results: Compared to moderate air temperatures (22°C), high (30°C) and low (18°C) air temperatures had a much more profound effect on changes in heart beat rate, the accuracy of brain executive functions and the response time to stimuli. There were statistically significant differences in the accuracy by different workload levels and various air temperature conditions(P<0.05). Although the heart beat rate index, the ratio between low frequency and high frequency (LF/HF), and the respiratory rate were more profoundly affected by the higher and lower air temperatures than moderate air temperatures (P<0.05), this effect was not statistically significant, which may be due to significant reduction in the standard deviation of normal-to normal intervals (SNND) and the root of mean squared difference between adjacent normal heart beat (N-N) intervals (RMSSD) (P>0.05). Conclusion: The results confirmed that the unfavorable air temperatures may considerably affect the physiological responses and the cognitive functions among indoor employees.Therefore, providing them with thermal comfort may improve their performance within indoor environments.

KEYWORDS:

Air temperature; Electrocardiogram; Executive functions of brain; N-back test; Respiratory rate

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