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Appl Ergon. 1981 Mar;12(1):29-33.

Comparison between male and female subjective estimates of thermal effects and sensations.

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Department of Industrial Engineering, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA.


Thirty-one male subjects aged between 18 and 40 years and 15 female subjects aged between 18 and 24 years were used to compare male and female subjective estimates of the effect of heat on thermal sensation, drowsiness, boredom and fatigue. The subjects were exposed to climatic conditions between 74 degrees and 110 degrees F (23.3 degrees and 43.3 degrees C) Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) while performing perceptual-motor tasks. Linear regression equations relating thermal sensation and ambient temperature were developed. These equations showed that the preferred temperature for males (71.6 degrees F (22 degrees C) WBGT) is significantly lower than that for females (77.1 degrees F (25 degrees C) WBGT). Females tend to feel more uncomfortable than males at both high and low temperature extremes. The subjective responses of thermal sensation take the same pattern as the subjective estimates of physiological responses to heat. Subjective estimates of thermal sensation in the heat relate directly to actual changes occurring in body temperature and heart rate. The subjective estimates by both males and females of drowsiness, boredom and fatigue form inverted U-curves when plotted against increasing temperature. The peaks of the inverted U or arousal curves for the two groups occur at 90 degrees F (32.2 degrees C) WBGT. The females reported higher levels of both drowsiness and boredom than the males at all temperatures, and the males reported higher fatigue than the females at the upper temperature levels.


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