different people, different temperature perception

I operate best when the temperature is between 5 and 15 degrees C. What i mean by this is I feel most comfortable, can think most clearly and find myself most energetic at around these temperatures. I am comfortable down to about -5c and pretty much cannot function at 30c or above. (i am from the uk so that isnt that much of a problem!)

Most people I know and work with prefer temperatures a good 10c higher than I do. I have ‘a few extra pounds’ (5ft11, 14.5st) , and am not particularly hairy. The people I have asked have ranged from obese to skinny to yeti-men to hairless (through choice ;)) - basically i have tried to ask people who are much larger and hairier than me, initially in the hope of finding a tred, which there was but not one that really helped explain me.

Now I realise we are all experiencing the same external temperature, and rather unscientifically (using a thermometer) I have concluded im not any hotter on the inside than the normal person.

so what reasons could there be for me having a significantly different reaction to warmer/colder weather than those around me?

I’m also interested in the answer; frequently when people come in to my office they think it’s freezing because I keep it at a temperature I like.


I ran this through the Google English-to-American Translation Engine[sup]1[/sup]:

Variables include % body fat (provides insulation), muscle bulk (muscles generate heat), and probably to some extent how your nervous system and autonomic temperature regulation works. Your comfort zone seems much lower than the average. IIRC most people prefer temps ranging from 68-74F (20-23C). A friend of mine likes it cold in his office, but not below 60. I don’t know anybody that likes it warm indoors, say above 76F. I get distinctly uncomfortable trying to work if it’s above 78F, although just being outdoors doing normal things I can deal with it up to 98F (37C) if I am well hydrated (depending on the humidity).

  1. They don’t really have one but they ought to

I recently lost a lot of weight, and now I am chronically cold where I used to be comfortable. So the lost off that insulating fat is probably a big factor. Also, when I was thinner before I don’t remember suffering from the cold so much, except for my feet, which I always attributed to poor circulation.

On the other hand, being comfortable at even 59 degrees F. indoors seems like polar bear territory to me. My office is at 62 today despite repeated complaints, and my feet are like blocks of ice. My hands are cold too. I prefer it around 68 to 70.

I’ve got a few extra pounds, it’s true, but I’ve lost some weight recently and I still wish everything were at 63 degrees.


I don’t know, I’m most comfortable 50 F to about 60F indoors when I have to do something that requires thinking or work, up to 75F when indoors and relaxing, and 0 F to 110 F outdoors. Somehow, natural heat just does not bother me if I have the opportunity to dress for the weather, but inside heat is a killer.

I always attribute it to being Russian, although I don’t know how to quantify that.

I tend to prefer lower temperatures than most other people that I know. Around 15-20 suits me fine. I find really hot weather quite trying. Part physiological, part mental, I imagine.

I’m quite comfortable with my house being in the 50s as well. For what it’s worth I’m 5’ 10", about 205 and not excessively furry. I also love the snow and don’t handle high heat and humidity as well.

My g/f has to remind me to turn the heat up when she comes over or she’ll die of exposure (to hear her tell it). She’s a nice normal size/weight.

My buddy Jake on the other hand is about my height, has 40+ pounds extra on him compared to me (he is very stocky and has a bit of a belly) and he finds my house freezing.

There has to be something other than body size at play - all other things being equal a big person has more mass/surface area and so they lose heat more slowly compared to a small person, but I know people bigger than me who hate the cold, smaller than me who love the cold and vice versa. It’s all over the map. Some of it is having an “adventurous outlook” - I take pleasure in going out into crappy weather so that’s part of it.

In Chemistry, room temperature is defined as 25C which would be what I assume the majority of people would be comfortable with.

I don’t know, my chemistry teachers always defined it as 21C. I don’t think most people are comfortable with 25C, that’s waay too hot. My stepfather always insisted proper room temperature should be 17C scientifically because that’s what most people keep their homes at, but he’s insane and a mathematician to boot.

Yes, we were taught that it was 25C too when I did Chemistry at school.

To clarify, all the data tables and other information listing material properties would use 25C as a datapoint, however, in laboratory work, we would assume room temperature was 21C. I think the reason for this is that in the US, it’s often considered that 70F is room temperature, which is roughly 21C.

In Canada 21c is considered room temperature.

I was born and raised and lived in Canada until 31. I lived in Alberta and NWT most of that time, both known for their long, harsh winters. Now, living in Maryland, I don’t wear a coat or shoes most of the time, preferring sandals and sometimes a sweater. People often think I’m insane; I just explain that I’m from Canada and they nod sagely. It may just be a matter of being used to it.

I always thought room temperature was 68 F (20 C).

I am a very thin guy (could never gain weigh no matter what). I grew up in Tahoe (lots of snow in the winter) and was never cold. I would wear shorts and tee shirts year round.

Now that I’m older (32) and living in Santa Cruz, I find myself getting chilled even at 60 F. If anything I’ve put on weight since I’ve lived in Tahoe. My metabolism is the same. shrug I think it’s the humidity differences. Living up in Tahoe it might be 40 degrees, but it was also very dry. It’s much more humid living near the ocean.

Most ambient room temperatures are given as 25 oC, which my old physics teacher always thought was a bit warm. He preferred 20.

What CookingWithGas said, just to add that surface area:volume ratio will make a difference (round shaped people hold in the heat better), and there is a sharp distinction between the ambient temperature requirements of men and women. Despite women having (on average) a greater percentage of insulating body fat, they also have much less muscle mass to heat them up from the inside, and so most women feel the cold sooner than most men.

Hormones must affect it too: I’ve never had a problem with cold weather, wearing only a heavy hooded sweatshirt most of the winter (maybe covering it with a jacket if the temp is below 20F). The past two winters I was in menopause, and wearing a heavy winter coat if the temps were below 60F.

Fortunately, I’m back to my old self. Feeling freezing sucks.

The “standard atmosphere” is 15.01 C. I think the “.01” results from a change in the definition of the Celsius scale in, oh, 1989 or so, but am not sure.

So Americans aren’t the only ones with the concept of “room temperature”! My Spanish ex-girlfriend swore she’d never heard of the concept. It’s been mentioned by people in Australia and the UK. Anywhere else use it?

Also, to balance out all the people who like it cold, i’m 5’2"/100lbs and most comfortable at 77-84F. I usually wear 2-3 pairs of pants and always take a jacket with me even in the summer b/c of air conditioning (only 1 pair of pants in summer though).

Russia and Germany for sure. I would think it would be easier to make a list of countries that DON’T use it.