Functional infrared thermal imaging (fITI) is considered an upcoming, promising methodology in the emotional arena. Driven by sympathetic nerves, observations of affective nature derive from muscular activity subcutaneous blood flow as well as perspiration patterns in specific body parts. A review of 23 experimental procedures that employed fITI for investigations of affective nature is provided, along with the adopted experimental protocol and the thermal changes that took place on selected regions of interest in human and nonhuman subjects. Discussion is provided regarding the selection of an appropriate baseline, the autonomic nature of the thermal print, the experimental setup, methodological issues, limitations, and considerations, as well as future directions.
Thermal infrared imaging has been proposed, and is now used, as a tool for the non-contact and non-invasive computational assessment of human autonomic nervous activity and psychophysiological states. Thanks to a new generation of high sensitivity infrared thermal detectors and the development of computational models of the autonomic control of the facial cutaneous temperature, several autonomic variables can be computed through thermal infrared imaging, including localized blood perfusion rate, cardiac pulse rate, breath rate, sudomotor and stress responses. In fact, all of these parameters impact on the control of the cutaneous temperature. The physiological information obtained through this approach, could then be used to infer about a variety of psychophysiological or emotional states, as proved by the increasing number of psychophysiology or neurosciences studies that use thermal infrared imaging. This paper presents a review of the principal achievements of thermal infrared imaging in computational psychophysiology, focusing on the capability of the technique for providing ubiquitous and unwired monitoring of psychophysiological activity and affective states. It also presents a summary on the modern, up-to-date infrared sensors technology.
Thermal infrared imaging has been proposed as a potential system for the computational assessment of human autonomic nervous activity and psychophysiological states in a contactless and noninvasive way. Through bioheat modeling of facial thermal imagery, several vital signs can be extracted, including localized blood perfusion, cardiac pulse, breath rate, and sudomotor response, since all these parameters impact the cutaneous temperature. The obtained physiological information could then be used to draw inferences about a variety of psychophysiological or affective states, as proved by the increasing number of psychophysiological studies using thermal infrared imaging. This paper presents therefore a review of the principal achievements of thermal infrared imaging in computational physiology with regard to its capability of monitoring psychophysiological activity.
The present study provides a comprehensive view of (a) the time dynamics of the psychophysiological responding in performing music students (n = 66) before, during, and after a private and a public performance and (b) the moderating effect of music performance anxiety (MPA). Heart rate (HR), minute ventilation (VE), and all affective and somatic self-report variables increased in the public session compared to the private session. Furthermore, the activation of all variables was stronger during the performances than before or after. Differences between phases were larger in the public than in the private session for HR, VE, total breath duration, anxiety, and trembling. Furthermore, while higher MPA scores were associated with higher scores and with larger changes between sessions and phases for self-reports, this association was less coherent for physiological variables. Finally, self-reported intra-individual performance improvements or deteriorations were not associated with MPA. This study makes a novel contribution by showing how the presence of an audience influences low- and high-anxious musicians’ psychophysiological responding before, during and after performing. Overall, the findings are more consistent with models of anxiety that emphasize the importance of cognitive rather than physiological factors in MPA.
Objectives Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome, is often accompanied by psychological distress and increased basal sympathetic tone. In a previous report it was shown that mindfulness-based stress-reduction (MBSR) reduced depressive symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia with gains maintained at two months follow-up (Sephton et al., Arthr Rheum 57:77–85, 2007). This second study explores the effects of MBSR on basal sympathetic (SNS) activation among women with fibromyalgia. Methods Participants (n = 24) responded to a television news appearance, newspaper, and radio advertisements. Effects on anxiety, depressive symptoms, and SNS activation measures were tested before and after MBSR using a within-subjects design. Results The MBSR treatment significantly reduced basal electrodermal (skin conductance level; SCL) activity (t = 3.298, p = .005) and SCL activity during meditation (t = 4.389, p = .001), consistent with reduced SNS activation. Conclusions In this small sample, basal SNS activity was reduced following MBSR treatment. Future studies should assess how MBSR may help reduce negative psychological symptoms and attenuate SNS activation in fibromyalgia. Further clarification of psychological and physiological responses associated with fibromyalgia may lead to more beneficial treatment.
While most healthy women report that the menopausal transition is nondistressing, a subset of women does report that symptoms significantly interfere in their lives. The most common reason that women seek treatment during this time is for vasomotor symptoms, namely, hot flashes and night sweats. Research has suggested that reports of distress during flashing are only weakly related to more objective measures of the flash, including duration and frequency and that differences in treatment-seeking during the menopausal transition may be better accounted for by differences in symptom awareness mediated by a variety of personality and stress factors. This paper discusses hot flashes and night sweats from a cognitive-behavioral perspective, taking into account individual difference variables that may also affect the experience of menopausal symptoms.
Violence is a key element in video games and despite the extensive research in video game violence, there is still a debate on its psychophysiological effect. There is a lack of understanding on the elements of video game violence that influence aggression. The present pilot study examines the effect of blood and gore in a first-person shooter with participants playing in one of the two conditions, with or without blood and gore. To assess the effect of blood and gore, and thus violence, a number of elements were measured including physical arousal, individual differences, personality, and game experience. The results suggested that blood and gore had no effect on aggression-related associations and cognitive processes. The findings did suggest that previous game experience had a significant effect on increased physiological arousal when engaging in violent content featuring blood and gore. Furthermore, a personality trend emerged showing an effect on arousal and cognitive processes. As the study was preliminary, definitive conclusions cannot be drawn, however the findings warrant further investigation.