How Does Heat Affect The Mind?
Posted on 31st October 2018 by FM Mechanical Ltd
When we think about how hot rooms can affect productivity, we often think about the physical discomfort involved in sticky clothes and sweaty armpits. Being uncomfortable can lead to irritability and lack of focus, and these are certainly justified reasons for installing air conditioning in a workplace or similar environment. However, what is lesser known, and yet perhaps even more detrimental, is how a hot room can directly affect the cognitive function of the brain. This article will be exploring the latter claim and will be explaining how heat has a significant impact on the mind.
What Is The Cause Of Heat’s Effect On The Mind?
It all starts with a little monosaccharide known as glucose. Glucose is a sugar found in many of the foods we eat and is vital for the various biological functions we perform every day. In order to keep our mental processes sharp, we need a healthy supply of glucose available to use.
When we get too hot, our body automatically performs a process known as homeostasis, in which it regulates itself back to its optimum temperature. This is why we sweat; our bodies emit a liquid to cool our skin and bring our temperature back to natural levels. The issue, however, is that this process of cooling the body uses a large amount of glucose.
In fact, the process of cooling the body actually uses a significantly larger amount of glucose than it does to heat the body up. This is a problem because the glucose is being used from the very same stockpile that is needed to facilitate cognitive functioning. When available glucose is in short supply, our minds are unable to function as well as they would usually do. Therefore, being too hot directly contributes towards lesser brain function.
In What Ways Does It Affect The Brain?
A series of scientific studies analysed the performance, in multiple tasks, of a group of people situated in a warm room of 77° Fahrenheit compared to a group in a cooler room of 67°. The results showed how the brain’s reduced cognitive function manifests in different ways.
- The first is through perception and awareness. In the first study, participants were asked to proofread. Participants in the warmer room failed to identify a significantly larger amount of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors than those in the cooler room. The warmer participants barely managed to identify half of the mistakes, whereas those in the colder room managed to identify three quarters.
- The second is through calculations. In the second study, participants in both rooms were given a list of mobile phone plans and were asked to calculate which plans were most cost-effective in the long run. Those in the warmer rooms only made the correct choice a quarter of the time, whereas the cooler rooms made the correct choice over half the time.
- The third is through decision making and processing information. In the third study, participants were asked to choose between either a traditional product or a more modern, innovative product. Those in warmer rooms chose the traditional product more than those in colder rooms. This is likely because they were unable to process the new information needed to understand the innovative product, and so stuck with what they already knew.
Here at FM Mechanical, we provide heating and cooling solutions to keep you functioning effectively. Whether for domestic or commercial use, our team of skilful technicians can help install a premium temperature appliance for a comfortable environment all year round. For more information, give our team a call today.