Imagine yourself in winter landscapes to exercise better cognitive control!

The researchers state that there is a possible explanation for the relation of temperature and cognitive control with social proximity.

Imagine yourself in winter landscapes to exercise better cognitive control!
(Image for representational purposes only)

New Delhi: Love winter and winter landscapes? Here's a chance for you to look and feel them more!

A study has discovered the perfect way to exercise and improve your cognitive control. All you have to do is picturise a setting under cold temperatures or look at pictures of winter landscapes!

Yes, it's that simple. According to the researchers, cognitive control is the ability to deliberately inhibit responses or make choices that maximise the long-term best interests of the individual.

For instance, when a person is very hungry and sees a sandwich but does not eat it, he is exhibiting cognitive control.

"Metaphorical phrases like 'coldly calculating,' 'heated response,' and 'cool-headed' actually have some scientific validity, which we demonstrate in our study," said Idit Shalev of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel.

"Previous research focused on the actual effect of temperature on the psychological phenomenon known as 'cognitive control,'" said Shalev.

"But this is the first time we were able to measure the effects of perceived temperature," he said.

For the study, researchers conducted two experiments. The first one required 87 students performing "anti-saccade task," which involves looking in the opposite direction an object is moving and measures cognitive control.

The second experiment had 28 students being shown images of winter scenery, a temperature-neutral concrete street and a sunny landscape, and told to picture themselves in those settings.

"The result indicated that those viewing the cold landscape did better and that even without a physical trigger, cognitive control can be activated through conceptual processes alone," said Shalev.

The researchers state that there is a possible explanation for the relation of temperature and cognitive control with social proximity.

"While signals of warmth induce a relaxed attitude, cool signals trigger alertness and a possible need for greater cognitive control," said Shalev.

The study was published in the journal Psychological Research.

(With PTI inputs)