Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Head temperature modulates thermal behavior in the cold in humans

Mündel, T., Raman, A. and Schlader, Z.J. (2016) Head temperature modulates thermal behavior in the cold in humans. Temperature, 3 (2). pp. 298-306.

Free to read:
*No subscription required


We tested the hypothesis that skin temperature, specifically of the head, is capable of modulating thermal behavior during exercise in the cold. Following familiarization 8 young, healthy, recreationally active males completed 3 trials, each consisting of 30 minutes of self-paced cycle ergometry in 6°C. Participants were instructed to control their exercise work rate to achieve and maintain thermal comfort. On one occasion participants wore only shorts and shoes (Control) and on the 2 other occasions their head was either warmed (Warming) or cooled (Cooling). Work rate, rate of metabolic heat production, thermal perceptions, rectal, mean weighted skin and head temperatures were measured. Exercise work rate was reduced during Warming and augmented during Cooling after the first and second minutes of exercise, respectively (P ≤ 0.04), with the rate of metabolic heat production mirroring work rate. At this early stage of exercise (≤5 min) the changes over time for rectal temperature were negligible and similar (0.1 ± 0.1°C, P = 0.51), while the decrease in mean skin temperature was not different between all trials (1.7 ± 0.6°C, P = 0.13). Mean head temperature was either decreased (Control: 1.5 ± 1.1°C, Cooling: 2.9 ± 0.8°C, both P < 0.01) or increased (Warming: 1.7 ± 0.9°C, P < 0.01). Head thermal perception was warmer and more comfortable in Warming and cooler and less comfortable in Cooling (P < 0.01). Participants achieved thermal comfort similarly in all trials (P > 0.09) after 10 ± 7 min and this was maintained until the end of exercise. These results indicate that peripheral temperatures modulate thermal behavior in the cold.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Copyright: © 2016 Taylor & Francis
Item Control Page Item Control Page