A study conducted in the terraXcube, Eurac Research’s extreme environment simulator, shows that the threshold for human perception of temperature changes is less than one degree centigrade.
Laura Battistel, a PhD student in cognitive and brain sciences at Eurac Research, conducts experiments on human perception using the Small Cube, one of three environmental simulation areas the terraXcube is divided into. Her study, a collaboration between terraXcube and CIMeC (Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento), shows that, on average, humans are able to perceive environmental temperature differences of 0.92 degrees Celsius. This is the first study in which environmental temperature perception has been evaluated. Previous studies had only ever focused on sensitivity to temperature changes in specific parts of the body. The discovery is part of a line of research on the impact of the environment on our perception and could have implications in the field of heating, ventilation and air conditioning in buildings. The results of Battistel’s experiments have just been published in the Scientific Reports journal.