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The perception of heat: “Some like it hot”

The perception of heat: “Some like it hot”

If we say “Some Like It Hot” the film with the immortal icon Marilyn Monroe immediately comes to mind. However, the “heat” of the title refers to jazz, rather than to other forms of heat. In fact, speaking of heat in the literal sense of warmth, it is more correct to say that everyone likes heat, for reasons that we will summarise below. We all tend to look for a certain temperature that can be reached, in human environments, thanks to infrared lamps.

 

Why do we like to stay warm?

Once the premise has been removed, when it comes to preferences concerning heat, it should be noted that the temperature of a domestic environment depends primarily on personal tastes and needs. In fact, while there are many of us who prefer cooler temperatures, others prefer the warmth of spring, arguing with the strangest theses.

 

The fact remains that in general most of us like to stay warm. But scientifically, what is heat itself? In short it is about the perception of a temperature, which occurs through the sense of touch, or the skin. The concepts of heat and cold are rather reductive; while going into complex explanations about our sensory perception would be out of place.

 

Much more simply, the ideal temperature for the environment of a human being, i.e. the one in which their organism and their functions are optimal, is between 19 °C and 25 °C perceived degrees, with an average that is around about 22 °C. Studies and experiments at the University of Virginia and the University of Houston have shown that this is the ideal value for our cognitive and bodily functions.

 

Instinctively, except for subjective preferences, we will therefore try to make sure that our body can perceive a temperature that is always close to 22 °C, both in closed spaces as well as open spaces. This constant search for sources of heat is due to the continuous invention and diffusion of means that spread heat, such as stoves, fireplaces, radiators and latest generation infrared lamps.

 

Warm, but not too warm… (because infrared lamps must be used)

We have said that, in order for our organism to be fully active and productive, it is necessary to perceive a temperature that is slightly above 22 °C, however the studies we mentioned earlier have also highlighted how differences that may appear minimal, but in excess have a non-positive influence on our evaluation skills (albeit slightly). That is why the ideal would be to perceive a pleasant warmth, without the temperature of a place rising too much.

 

In addition to this, the temperature we feel varies also according to the size of a space; for this reason, the use of infrared lamps can cause an ideal temperature to be perceived across a location, regardless of its size. In fact, thanks to the radiation of infrared lamps, it is possible to have a pleasant sensation of warmth with an extremely reduced energy expenditure compared to traditional methods of heating, in addition to the fact that the actual temperature is always at an optimal level, i.e. between 19 °C and 20 °C, so as to limit both consumption and environmental impact.

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