The effects of manipulating the visual environment on thermal perception: a structured narrative review

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When exposed to ambient temperatures that cause thermal discomfort, a human's behavioral responses are more effective than autonomic ones at compensating for thermal imbalance. These behavioral thermal responses are typically directed by an individual's perception of the thermal environment. Perception of the environment is a holistic amalgamation of human senses, and that in some circumstances, humans prioritize visual information. Existing research has considered this in the specific case of thermal perception, and this review investigates the state of the literature examining this effect. We identify the frameworks, research rationales, and potential mechanisms that underpin the evidence base in this area. studied behaviors. Our review identified 31 experiments, comprising 1392 participants that met the inclusion criteria. Methodological heterogeneity was observed in the assessment of thermal perception, and a variety of methods were employed to manipulate the visual environment. However, the majority of the included experiments (80%) reported a difference in thermal perception after the visual environment was manipulated. There was limited research exploring any effects on physiological variables (e.g. skin and core temperature). This review has wide-ranging implications for the broad discipline of (thermo)physiology, psychology, psychophysiology, neuroscience, ergonomics, and behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103488
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Thermal Biology
Early online date25 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • Color-temperature interactions
  • Temperature
  • Color
  • Visual manipulations
  • Extreme environments
  • Behavioural thermoregulation
  • Vision
  • Exercise

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