Effect of Localized Temperature Change on Vigilance Performance

by Jessica Spencer Pack

Institution: Wright State University
Department: Human Factors and Industrial/Organizational Psychology MS
Degree: MS
Year: 2015
Keywords: Behavioral Psychology; Cognitive Psychology; Climate Change; Experimental Psychology; Personality Psychology; Physiological Psychology; Psychobiology; Psychology; vigilance; temperature; stressor appraisals; challenge; threat
Record ID: 2059069
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=wright1429286666


This study examined the influence of localized temperature change on vigilance performance. Additionally, the effect of stressor appraisals on the relationship between localized temperature change and vigilance performance was investigated. A total of 36 male and female participants between the ages of 18 and 45 completed a stressor appraisal scale before completing a 40-minute simulated air traffic control vigilance task. Depending on the condition, either a hot, cold, or neutral temperature change was induced using a thermoelectric pad and blanket 20 minutes into the vigilance task. Although localized temperature change did not have a significant effect on vigilance performance 25-30 minutes into the task, those who were randomly assigned to the cold condition did experience a significant reduction in their vigilance decrement over time when compared to the neutral condition. Participants were classified as challenged or threatened, depending on their task appraisals. A marginally significant main effect of stressor appraisals on vigilance performance was observed. Challenged individuals appeared to perform better over time than threatened individuals. Although a moderating effect was not observed, these results suggest that individually both localized temperature change and stressor appraisals tend to influence vigilance performance over time.