Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

Free Content Circadian rhythms in human performance and mood under constant conditions

Download Article:

You have access to the full text article on a website external to Ingenta Connect.

Please click here to view this article on Wiley Online Library.

You may be required to register and activate access on Wiley Online Library before you can obtain the full text. If you have any queries please visit Wiley Online Library

This study explored the relationship between circadian performance rhythms and rhythms in rectal temperature, plasma cortisol, plasma melatonin, subjective alertness and well-being. Seventeen healthy young adults were studied under 36 h of «unmasking» conditions (constant wakeful bedrest, temporal isolation, homogenized «meals») during which rectal temperatures were measured every minute, and plasma cortisol and plasma melatonin measured every 20 min. Hourly subjective ratings of global vigour (alertness) and affect (well-being) were obtained followed by one of two performance batteries. On odd-numbered hours performance (speed and accuracy) of serial search, verbal reasoning and manual dexterity tasks was assessed. On even-numbered hours, performance (% hits, response speed) was measured at a 25–30 min visual vigilance task. Performance of all tasks (except search accuracy) showed a significant time of day variation usually with a nocturnal trough close to the trough in rectal temperature. Performance rhythms appeared not to reliably differ with working memory load. Within subjects, predominantly positive correlations emerged between good performance and higher temperatures and better subjective alertness; predominantly negative correlations between good performance and higher plasma levels of cortisol and melatonin. Temperature and cortisol rhythms correlated with slightly more performance measures (5/7) than did melatonin rhythms (4/7). Global vigour correlated about as well with performance (5/7) as did temperature, and considerably better than global affect (1/7). In conclusion: (1) between-task heterogeneity in circadian performance rhythms appeared to be absent when the sleep/wake cycle was suspended; (2) temperature (positively), cortisol and melatonin (negatively) appeared equally good as circadian correlates of performance, and (3) subjective alertness correlated with performance rhythms as well as (but not better than) body temperature, suggesting that performance rhythms were not directly mediated by rhythms in subjective alertness.
No References
No Citations
No Supplementary Data
No Article Media
No Metrics

Keywords: circadian; cortisol; human; melatonin; performance; rhythms; temperature

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: Sleep and Chronobiology Centre, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, USA

Publication date: January 1, 1997

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more