Relationship between anxiety and monotonous task performance in response to local cooling: An experimental study in healthy young men

Yali Xia & Yoshihiro Shimomura

There are limited studies on monotonous task performance and its relationship with anxiety and stress traits. This study aimed to determine if local cooling exerts physiological effects and positively affects task performance. Ten male participants performed monotonous work for 24 minutes under control and local cooling conditions. We measured physiological arousal and anxiety using electroencephalography and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, respectively. The participants rated their drowsiness, the thermal sensation of the seat, and whole-body thermal sensation. Despite the lack of significant differences in physiological arousal, the state-anxiety score, which reflects the current stressful situation, was significantly lower in the local cooling condition. Therefore, cooling might help relieve stress during monotonous tasks, without impairing task performance. In addition, individuals with higher state-anxiety scores tended to experience a faster increase in their arousal level. Thus, individual anxiety traits may modulate attentional resources during monotonous task performance.

The study on topic related to monotonous task performance and its relationship with anxiety and stress traits is novel. Minimizing negative emotions is key to monotonous task execution under stress. Individual anxiety might modulate resource allocation for monotonous task execution.