Thermal infrared imaging in psychophysiology: Potentialities and limits

Authors

  • Stephanos Ioannou,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neuroscience, Section of Physiology, Parma University, Parma, Italy
    2. Department of Neuroscience and Imaging, G. d'Annunzio University, Chieti-Pescara, Italy
    3. Infrared Imaging Lab, Institute of Advanced Biomedical Technologies (ITAB), G. d'Annunzio Foundation, Chieti, Italy
    • Address correspondence to: Stephanos Ioannou, Dipartimento di Neuroscienze—Sezione di Fisiologia, Universita' di Parma, 39, Via Volturno, Parma, Italy, I-43100. E-mail: ioannoustephanos@gmail.com

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  • Vittorio Gallese,

    1. Department of Neuroscience, Section of Physiology, Parma University, Parma, Italy
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  • Arcangelo Merla

    1. Department of Neuroscience and Imaging, G. d'Annunzio University, Chieti-Pescara, Italy
    2. Infrared Imaging Lab, Institute of Advanced Biomedical Technologies (ITAB), G. d'Annunzio Foundation, Chieti, Italy
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  • This work was supported by the Marie-Curie Initial Training Network, TESIS: Towards an Embodied Science of Inter-Subjectivity (FP7-PEOPLE-2010-ITN, 264828). We thank Professor Ioannis Pavlidis of the University of Houston for his support.

Abstract

Functional infrared thermal imaging (fITI) is considered an upcoming, promising methodology in the emotional arena. Driven by sympathetic nerves, observations of affective nature derive from muscular activity subcutaneous blood flow as well as perspiration patterns in specific body parts. A review of 23 experimental procedures that employed fITI for investigations of affective nature is provided, along with the adopted experimental protocol and the thermal changes that took place on selected regions of interest in human and nonhuman subjects. Discussion is provided regarding the selection of an appropriate baseline, the autonomic nature of the thermal print, the experimental setup, methodological issues, limitations, and considerations, as well as future directions.

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