Temperature-Induced Changes in Neuromuscular Function: Central and Peripheral Mechanisms


Goodman, D., Hancock, P.A., Runnings, D.W., & Brown, S.L. (1984). Temperature induced changes in neuromuscular function: Central and peripheral mechanisms. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 59, 647-656.

Three series of experimental tests were conducted on subjects under both elevated and depressed thermal conditions. Tripartite series consisted of whole-body immersion excepting the head, whole-body immersion excepting the head and response limb, and immersion of the discrete-response limb. Measures of physiological and behavioural responses were made at sequential .4 degrees C changes during whole-body immersions and approximately 5 degrees C changes of water temperature during the immersion of a limb only. Results suggested that velocity of nerve conduction decreased with thermal depression. Premotor, motor, simple, and choice reaction times varied differentially as a function of the hot and cold conditions. Implications of these differential effects on neuromuscular function are examined with respect to person-machine performance in artificially induced or naturally occurring extremes of ambient temperature.

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