Effects of acute cold stress on visual spatial attention
Ecem Merve Onaran1, Numan Ermutlu2
1İstanbul Bilim Üniversitesi, Sağlık Bilimleri Enstitüsü, Fizyoloji Anabilim Dalı İstanbul, Türkiye
2İstanbul Bilim Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi, Fizyoloji Anabilim Dalı, İstanbul, Türkiye
Keywords: Cold stress; endogenous orientation; exogenous orientation; spatial visual attention; stimulus driven orientation
Objectives: This study aims to investigate the effects of stress induced by cold on endogenous and exogenous divisions of spatial visual attention orientation.
Materials and methods: In this study, 40 volunteers were subjected to the spatial visual attention test called Posner Cueing Task in four conditions: while their feet immersed in 4°C, 10°C, 25°C water and at room temperature. We measured the volunteers’ blood pressure, heart rate, pain scores on the numeric pain scale and reaction times to exogenous and endogenous components of spatial visual attention orientation during the four conditions in the study.
Results: The results were compared with analysis of variance (ANOVA) for repeated measurements. We found that the subjects’ systolic blood pressures and scores on numeric pain scale at 4°C water to be significantly high. Under all circumstances, the reaction times to endogenous orientation of attention were found to be significantly shorter than the reaction times to exogenous orientation of attention. At 10°C water immersion, the reaction times to both endogenous and exogenous orientations were found to be significantly shorter than at 4°C and room temperature. The commission rate of exogenous orientation of attention was found to be significantly higher in 4°C condition than in other conditions.
Conclusion: The increase in the systolic blood pressure and the score on the numeric pain scale at 4°C water reveals acute cold stress. Acute cold stress negatively influences the exogenous attention performance. The shorter reaction times to stimuli in 10°C condition suggested increased alertness and enhanced performance in this condition.