Monday, August 11, 2008

Heat and humidity can 'clear the mind'?

A recent BBC article entitled; "Bejing heat 'could clear minds'", suggests that research shows higher humidity can result in athletes 'drawing' on mental 'reserves' allowing improved mental performance. In response, a more accurate conclusion may be that 'humidity' forces individuals to adapt by focusing and increasing concentration.

Take for example a recent small study into those who smoke 'weed' before driving. Here, it was found that performance did not diminish but improved primarily because the participating driver remarked that he concentrated and focused more to counteract the effect of the weed. So the weed forced a 'conscious' response as heat or humidity may force such a similar response. Alternatively, it could be argued that heat dampens one's full spectrum of consciousness leaving an individual with a more skewed or focused consciousness, which may be conducive to completing 'single' tasks or 'focused decision making' more successfully.

It must also be noted that if the 'two' hockey players were asked to complete tasks on a treadmill under normal conditions first, it could certainly have skewed results, as players would have been 'primed' to additional decision making when humidity was increased. In anycase, two players seems an extremely small number for testing and there would have to be shown a relatively high 'significant difference' in mental performance to validate results.

Thus, again we find research with knowledge 'claims' which require a degree of skeptisim, research that under testing appears to show two phenomena correlating, but whose explanation for such an 'observed' correlation requires reservation and further testing.

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Copyright © 2006-2008 Shane McLoughlin. This article may not be resold or redistributed without prior written permission.

1 comment:

Lulu said...

Good post.