Human thermal sensation: frequency response to sinusoidal stimuli at the surface of the skin

J.W. Ring, Richard de Dear, Arsen Krikor Melikov

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The question of how the human organism perceives changing thermal stimuli has been recently studied and reported in experiments where these stimuli were either ramps and plateaux or simply step changes. Other experiments have been done in which the stimuli have been periodically varying airflows. A psychosensory intensity (PSI) model has been developed to relate experimentally derived sensation data to simulated cutaneous thermoreceptor responses to the temperature ramp-plateaux and step stimuli applied to the skin surface by thermodes. From the point of view of signal processing, a natural extension of this approach is to ask what the response would be to sinusoidally varying stimuli of differing frequencies, or, in other words, what would be the frequency response of this skin system? The purpose of this paper is to extend the PSI model and apply these sinusoids to it and hence find the frequency response function. This function is then compared with the functional form found in two experiments where the stimuli were pulsating airflows of differing frequency. The PSI model seems to simulate well the form of the response of the human skin system to varying temperature changes of a whole range of frequencies as well as the response to ramps and plateaux of differing periods, ramp inclines and intensities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)159–165
Publication statusPublished - 1993

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