Article

Warm pleasant feelings in the brain.

University of Oxford, Department of Experimental Psychology, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3UD, England, UK.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.13). 08/2008; 41(4):1504-13. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.03.005
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Warm and cold stimuli have affective components such as feeling pleasant or unpleasant, and these components may have survival value, for approach to warmth and avoidance of cold may be reinforcers or goals for action built into us during evolution to direct our behaviour to stimuli that are appropriate for survival. Understanding the brain processing that underlies these prototypical reinforcers provides a direct approach to understanding the brain mechanisms of emotion. In an fMRI investigation in humans, we showed that the mid-orbitofrontal and pregenual cingulate cortex and the ventral striatum have activations that are correlated with the subjective pleasantness ratings made to warm (41 degrees C) and cold (12 degrees C) stimuli, and combinations of warm and cold stimuli, applied to the hand. Activations in the lateral and some more anterior parts of the orbitofrontal cortex were correlated with the unpleasantness of the stimuli. In contrast, activations in the somatosensory cortex and ventral posterior insula were correlated with the intensity but not the pleasantness of the thermal stimuli. A principle thus appears to be that processing related to the affective value and associated subjective emotional experience of thermal stimuli that are important for survival is performed in different brain areas to those where activations are related to sensory properties of the stimuli such as their intensity. This conclusion appears to be the case for processing in a number of sensory modalities, and the finding with such prototypical stimuli as warm and cold provides strong support for this principle.

0 Followers
 · 
106 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study was to investigate the potential enhancing effect of heat stress on mental fatigue progression during sustained attention task using arterial spin labeling (ASL) imaging. Twenty participants underwent two thermal exposures in an environmental chamber: normothermic (NT) condition (25°C, 1hour) and hyperthermic (HT) condition (50°C, 1hour). After thermal exposure, they performed a twenty-minute psychomotor vigilance test (PVT) in the scanner. Behavioral analysis revealed progressively increasing subjective fatigue ratings and reaction time as PVT progressed. Moreover, heat stress caused worse performance. Perfusion imaging analyses showed significant resting-state cerebral blood flow (CBF) alterations after heat exposure. Specifically, increased CBF mainly gathered in thalamic-brainstem area while decreased CBF predominantly located in fronto-parietal areas, anterior cingulate cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, and medial frontal cortex. More importantly, diverse CBF distributions and trend of changes between both conditions were observed as the fatigue level progressed during subsequent PVT task. Specifically, higher CBF and enhanced rising trend were presented in superior parietal lobe, precuneus, posterior cingulate cortex and anterior cingulate cortex, while lower CBF or inhibited rising trend were found in dorsolateral frontal cortex, medial frontal cortex, inferior parietal lobe and thalamic-brainstem areas. Furthermore, the decrease of post-heat resting-state CBF in fronto-parietal cortex was correlated with subsequent slower reaction time, suggesting prior disturbed resting-state CBF might be indicator of performance potential and fatigue level in following task. These findings may provide proof for such a view: heat stress has a potential fatigue-enhancing effect when individual is performing highly cognition-demanding attention task. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Behavioural Brain Research 11/2014; 280. DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2014.11.036 · 3.39 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: International standards that define thermal comfort in uniform environments are based on the steady-state heat balance equation that posits ‘neutrality’ as the optimal occupant comfort state for which environments are designed. But thermal perception is more than an outcome of a deterministic, steady-state heat balance. Thermal alliesthesia is a conceptual framework to understand the hedonics of a much larger spectrum of thermal environments than the more thoroughly researched concept of thermal neutrality. At its simplest, thermal alliesthesia states that the hedonic qualities of the thermal environment are determined as much by the general thermal state of the subject as by the environment itself. A peripheral thermal stimulus that offsets or counters a thermoregulatory load-error will be pleasantly perceived and vice versa, a stimulus that exacerbates thermoregulatory load-error will feel unpleasant. The present paper elaborates the thermophysiological hypothesis of alliesthesia with a particular focus on set-point control and the origins of thermoregulatory load-error signals, and then discusses them within the broader context of thermal pleasure. Alliesthesia provides an overarching framework within which diverse and previously disconnected findings of laboratory experiments, field studies and even comfort standards spanning the last 40 years of thermal comfort research can be more coherently understood.
    Building Research and Information 01/2014; 43(3):288-301. DOI:10.1080/09613218.2015.989662 · 1.32 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Current theories suggest that the brain is the sole source of mental illness. However, affective disorders, and major depressive disorder (MDD) in particular, may be better conceptualized as brain-body disorders that involve peripheral systems as well. This perspective emphasizes the embodied, multifaceted physiology of well-being, and suggests that afferent signals from the body may contribute to cognitive and emotional states. In this review, we focus on evidence from preclinical and clinical studies suggesting that afferent thermosensory signals contribute to well-being and depression. Although thermoregulatory systems have traditionally been conceptualized as serving primarily homeostatic functions, increasing evidence suggests neural pathways responsible for regulating body temperature may be linked more closely with emotional states than previously recognized, an affective warmth hypothesis. Human studies indicate that increasing physical warmth activates brain circuits associated with cognitive and affective functions, promotes interpersonal warmth and prosocial behavior, and has antidepressant effects. Consistent with these effects, preclinical studies in rodents demonstrate that physical warmth activates brain serotonergic neurons implicated in antidepressant-like effects. Together, these studies suggest that (1) thermosensory pathways interact with brain systems that control affective function, (2) these pathways are dysregulated in affective disorders, and (3) activating warm thermosensory pathways promotes a sense of well-being and has therapeutic potential in the treatment of affective disorders.
    Frontiers in Psychology 01/2014; 5:1580. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01580 · 2.80 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Download
54 Downloads
Available from
Jun 2, 2014