The Effect of Body Temperature on Reaction Time

Did you ever think of planning a sporting event based on your body temperature? Well, there has been a huge question of whether a person’s body temperature can affect his or her reaction time. Reaction time is the amount of time that it takes for the brain to send an impulse or message to a certain part of the body to carry out an action. There is a theory that at higher temperatures, the neurotransmitters in nerve cells carry impulses faster than at low temperatures. This is due to the fact that molecules move faster at higher temperatures.

A study has been done to test this theory. The body temperatures of a person were taken six times throughout the day. Immediately after the body temperatures were taken, the person played a game that measures a person’s reaction time. This was done for three days straight and the average temperature and reaction time of each hour was recorded. Results showed that with the varying body temperatures throughout the day, the reaction times varied as well. The range of body temperatures was from 96 degrees to about 98.4 degrees Fahrenheit. At the lowest temperature which was taken at 4 A.M. (96 degrees) the reaction time was .3314 seconds. At 12 P.M. the average body temperature was the highest at 98.4 degrees. At that time, the reaction time was the quickest at .23 seconds. Results showed that the quickest reaction times were from 12 P.M. and 4 P.M. which was when body temperatures were high. The slowest reaction times were between 8 P.M. and 4 A.M. that was when body temperatures were low.

There is a huge significance of the results of this study. From the fact that the optimum reaction time is at high temperatures, then a person is able to plan certain events at a time when body temperatures are high. For example, if NASCAR was having a charity event with racing, then the drivers may want to have it in the afternoon as apposed to at night. Racecar drivers need a quick reaction time while driving so that they may respond. Schools may want to host sporting events such as baseball, hockey, or soccer in the late afternoon so that the players have a quick reaction time. There are many other times when reaction time is important so this study allows people to plan accordingly.