Dynamic thermal pleasure in outdoor environments - temporal alliesthesia

Sijie Liu, Negin Nazarian, Melissa Anne Hart, Jianlei Niu, Yongxin Xie, Richard de Dear

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Thermal comfort research has been historically centred around the concept of “thermal neutrality”. Thermal neutrality originates from the steady-state indoor environment and is increasingly questioned when used to define the optimum sensation in outdoor environments. This calls for new criteria, designated for non-steady state and dynamically evolving outdoor settings. To address this need, we investigated thermal pleasure dynamics in outdoor environments based on thermal alliesthesia – a psychophysiological framework for understanding the hedonic responses elicited by non-steady-state thermal exposures. Detailed field studies were conducted in Sydney, Australia, during a 30-day period covering both summer and winter with a total of 35 subjects. The thermal sensation scale was quantitatively divided into four alliesthesial potential areas – two with moderate and two with strong alliesthesial potential - based on their divergence to the preferred sensation. We find that the temporal pleasure change (dP) can be predicted using thermal sensation change (dT). The results showed that linear regression performed strongly (R2 = 0.77 for summer and R2 = 0.79 for winter) in predicting dP when subjects' preceding sensation was in the strong alliesthesial potential zones – namely the ‘Hot’ and ‘Cold’ areas. When subjects' prior thermal sensation fell in the thermoneutral zone with moderate alliesthesial potential, a quadratic fit against dT provides a more reasonable prediction of dP (R2 = 0.61 for summer and R2 = 0.56 for winter). The dynamic thermal pleasure models provide a more nuanced subjective interpretation of outdoor urban spaces that includes thermal pleasure and delight. This study contributes further empirical support to the thermal alliesthesia framework and extends its application scope into outdoor thermal comfort research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number144910
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Alliesthesia
  • Dynamic thermal pleasure
  • Field study
  • Outdoor thermal comfort
  • Thermal neutrality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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