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Medical As my mental activity inc., so does my body temp.

  1. Nov 12, 2006 #1
    As I am playing chess, if I don't take a break after a few hours, my body temperature starts going up, is this normal?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2006 #2
    Great question. I don't have an answer, but I've noticed the same thing about myself. When I am doing work in my computer room the same thing happens. I keep a digital thermometer in there. Once I close the door, turn the lights on, turn the computer on and sit down for 2 hours, I notice the temperature increases from 20C to 22C. This is expected since light bulbs and computers generate alot of heat and the door is closed so it traps the heat in the room. After another couple hours the temperature remains at 22C since the room has reach a steady state temperature. Then I start writing out a brain-intensive report and after an hour I look back at the thermometer and its up to 24C. OF COURSE there are a plethora of external factors that could cause this like: outdoor temp., furnace heating cycles, someone using the stove and the heat seeping into my room. BUT, I've noticed this so many times that I've had enough data to rule out these external factors. My reports don't use any CPU intensive applications that may cause the computer to work harder and thus generate more heat. I simply use MSWord. I also don't type out that many words, I'm thinking for 9/10 minutes and typing for 1/10 minutes, so friction on the keyboard and my arm and hand muscle movements are negligeable heat sources.

    I know its hardly a scientific proof that thinking hard increases body temperature dramatically, but does anyone have knowledge of real experiments that have linked deep thought to large increases in body temp?
  4. Nov 13, 2006 #3


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    Your brain uses up to about 25% of your metabolism. I can well imagine that if you haven't eaten, and your body is burning fat or otherwise using metabolic processes to support your working brain, that your body temperature might rise, but I would rely on somebody who knows about these matters in detail rather than yours truly, who is just guessing.
  5. Nov 13, 2006 #4


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    Do you just feel hotter, or have you actually verified this by taking your temperature before and after? Stress can make you sweat, make you feel hotter. Your systolic blood pressure may also increase. When you're nervous you sweat, your face flushes. You may feel hotter, but your actual body temperature may not rise.
  6. Nov 14, 2006 #5
    For the same reason beautiful girls/boys are sometimes called "hot".
    Looking them may cause similar effects...
  7. Nov 15, 2006 #6


    That's quite incredible to think that it uses so much while its volume is much much less than 25% of the human body's volume. Do you have a white paper that shows this Self? Is this number based on glucose uptake?
  8. Nov 15, 2006 #7
    Your body temperature is not going to rise outside of a fever or simple partial seizure of the autonomic system (or maybe other autonomic pathologies, if such exist). If it threatens to be heated up by an outside source you bleed the excess heat off by evaporating sweat, and stay within normal parameters.

    It's not inconcievable that a person could heat up a well insulated room but 2 degrees strikes me as alot.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2006
  9. Nov 15, 2006 #8
    Hmm -- while my chess buddies and I play chess for hours... we usually drink beer ... to cool off? :rofl: So I've never witnessed this myself. :smile:

    I think you should pick up Evo's suggestion and do some measurements... On yourself and your chessmates... during chess and during nonchess activity. Of course, then every "normal" person will think you are truly contagious.
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