Cognitive performance was reduced by higher air temperature even when thermal comfort was maintained over the 24–28°C range

Resource type
Journal Article
Authors/contributors
Title
Cognitive performance was reduced by higher air temperature even when thermal comfort was maintained over the 24–28°C range
Abstract
This study managed to create thermal comfort conditions at three temperatures (24°C-­T24, 26°C-­T26, and 28°C-­T28) by adjusting clothing and air velocity. Thirty-­ six subjects (18 males and 18 females) were exposed to each of the three conditions for 4.5 h in a design balanced for order of presentation of conditions. During each exposure, they rated the physical environment, their comfort, the intensity of acute subclinical health symptoms, and their mental load, and they performed a number of cognitive tasks. Their physiological reactions were monitored. The subjects rated T24 to be comfortably cool, T26 to be comfortably neutral, and T28 to be comfortably warm. Their self-­estimated performance did not differ between conditions but 12 of 14 objective metrics of cognitive performance decreased significantly at the elevated temperatures: compared with T24, their average cognitive performance decreased by 10% at T26 and by 6% at T28. At the elevated temperatures, their parasympathetic nervous system activity (as indicated by PNN50) and their arterial blood oxygen saturation level (SpO2) were both lower, which would be expected to result in reduced cognitive performance. The subjects also rated their acute subclinical health symptoms as more intense and their workload as higher at the elevated temperatures. These results suggest that where cognitive performance is the priority, it is wise to ensure a comfortably cool environment. The present study also supports the use of fans or natural ventilation to reduce the need for mechanical cooling.
Publication
Indoor Air
Volume
32
Issue
1
Date
01/2022
Journal Abbr
Indoor Air
Language
en
ISSN
0905-6947, 1600-0668
Accessed
29/05/2022, 15:13
Library Catalogue
DOI.org (Crossref)
Citation
Lan, L., Tang, J., Wargocki, P., Wyon, D. P., & Lian, Z. (2022). Cognitive performance was reduced by higher air temperature even when thermal comfort was maintained over the 24–28°C range. Indoor Air, 32(1). https://doi.org/10.1111/ina.12916
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