Friday, July 22, 2016

Why does turning off the car AC - when its cooling starts to feel excessive - immediately makes one feel quite warm

Happens frequently. Rather all the time. It's summers and you turn on car's AC to cool yourself. After some time it seems as if the cabin is quite cool and the direct cool air coming to your face - which initially felt quite good and relieving - now feels a bit uncomfortably cool. You turn the AC knob and turn off the AC, but you immediately feel uncomfortable and turn it back on. Likely happens with many/most people. Why?

One explanation could be that cool AC air gives both pleasure and pain simultaneously, like two vector forces in opposite directions whose "overall" effect can be abstracted/simplified as one "net" value and direction but which nevertheless act independently. When you're feeling very hot, pain component is close to zero while pleasure component is substantial positive. As you cool down, pleasure component comes slightly down, and as you cool down very much, pain component [or call it pain effect] starts to grow. When pain [or call it displeasure] component becomes meaningful, you feel urge to turn off the AC. As soon as you turn it off, you withdraw both pleasure and pain components. Pain goes away no doubt, but pleasure also goes away and so you immediately feel urge to turn the AC back on.

Or to put it the other way, the moment you turn off AC, ambient temperature gives you pain associated with heat and so you feel urge to turn AC back on.

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