In case someone lives inside an air conditioner and hasn’t noticed, in Spain these last few days it’s been extremely hot. Summer fans can be happy. With a cold wave you see people in the middle of the street playing throwing snowballs, but with a heat wave what you want is to die.
solutions to extreme heat in the middle of spring there are few, especially if you do not have the money to spare. Lots of water, fresh foods, get away from the sun in the hottest hours, and keep an eye on the elderly and the little ones to assist them at the slightest sign of dehydration.
That and of course all the lists with the coolest movies, series and games that you are going to see sprout like mushrooms during the next few days.
Here too some will fall sooner rather than later, mind you, we have to eat something, but within that already typical fashion of recommending games that evoke cold when you should be inviting people to chew crushed ice, I couldn’t help but wonder until what point was or was not something completely absurd.
Are you seriously telling me, with your hand on your chest and without your voice trembling, that I start playing the console to feel cool? Either those of us who write these lists are terrible people, or there really is some truth behind this. Stranger things have been seen, you know that sometimes brains are a real nonsense, so let’s see what science says.
trick the brain
To face the question I start from what little I know. On the one hand that the hypothalamus It is the part of our brain that is responsible for control our temperature.
While the thermostat turns on the air conditioning or heating depending on whether it wants to cool or heat the house, the hypothalamus does the same, making us sweat to provide freshness or causing the muscles to tremble to generate heat.
Not only that, it is also in charge of giving us adrenaline in a risky situation or resorting to other ways to try to relax, two clear examples of situations in which an entertainment product, such as a video game, can directly affect us.
I am also aware of the extent to which you can trick the brain to modify the perception you have of reality -no, I’m not going that way-. I am aware of the studies in which the breath control and meditation they can manage to control the pain caused by the cold.
But even in even more surprising cases, science has shown that actions as simple as insult and curse can you help us withstand the cold for longer what if we say random words or keep quiet.
As the experiments almost always rely on the cold to try to avoid possible damage caused by a burn, in reality the two keys to the question are still there.
I know I can trick my brain, yes, but can I do it to feel cool or stand the heat? And, above all, can I get it through the images of a video game? For if but It depends on both the person and the game itself..
Starting from the basis of emotional contagiona social convergence phenomenon also seen in other animals that explains why you can’t help but smile when someone else does, or yawn when someone else opens their mouth like the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion, a study reported. raised to what extent that social mimicry could also translate to body temperature.
You don’t have to go too far to find examples of this, just try to remember the last time you were among family and friends and the fact that someone put on a jacket encouraged the rest to do the same even though up to that point they seemed to be hanging on. the cold well.
Dr. Neil Harrison of the University of Sussex raised the same possibility in an even more extreme scenario. He began to feel cold despite the fact that he did not have a real person in front of him to cause this contagion, but rather a television image.
while watching a documentary about the inuitsAtanarjuat, the legend of the fast man, the image of its protagonist running naked through the arctic caused a cold sensation in the neuroscientist and, of course, he automatically thought of the possibility of replicating and studying it.
Manipulate the mind to feel cool
Harrison’s study ended up showing that, when faced with an image of someone immersing their hands in ice water for several minutes, the temperature of the hands of the study group who were viewing the images were reduced between 0.2 and 0.05 degrees. A slight change in temperature that did not manifest itself in front of control videos or footage in which the hands were immersed in hot water.
There is, therefore, the temperature contagion, albeit at minute levels, but that solution raises another question for us. What if what we see on the other side of the screen is not real? Can we cause a change in temperature based on color alone? For that of blue and white evoking freshness and red causing heat.
Well, it turns out yes. By means of the rubber hand illusion -a practice in which the subject is manipulated by hiding his real hand and showing a rubber one that is tickled, thus causing the subject’s sense of sight to believe that those tickles are real-, a group of Japanese scientists they showed they could manipulate the subject’s perception through a fully visual thermal interaction.
Placing ice on the rubber hand made it feel cold, but placing ice on the hand with a different colored laser also elicited similar responses. If the laser was red, the temperature went up, while if a blue laser was shown, it went down.
Whether reaching a level of realism that allows awaken visceral empathyor through images evocative enoughthe possibility of tricking our brain into making our body feel cooler is real – albeit slight – but it depends as much on the subject in question as on the visual stimuli it receives.
So yeah, watching Nathan Drake crawling through the snow in Uncharted 2 while his teeth chattering might make you feel a little cooler, but chances are whoever’s sitting across the couch from you needs more than just polygons to replicate that same feeling.