LatentThe adjective latent has its origin in the Latin word latens and describes something that is hidden, waiting to go into operation, or apparently inactive. The concept can be applied to multiple issues. For instance: “The storm was latent but we did not know how to interpret the atmospheric conditions”, “Many believe that social discontent is latent but remains controlled by the good performance of the economy”, “I think the player has a latent anger that can be awakened by any spark”.

Latent heat

From the perspective of physical, the heat can be defined as latent when it is needed and applied in state modifications without representing an increase in the temperature of the body who receives it. This means that the Energy that you need a material to modify its state (which can vary between solid to liquid or from liquid to a gaseous state) does not translate into a thermal increase. In other words, going from a gas to a liquid or from a liquid to a solid is a process that allows the same amount of energy to be released.

The idea of ​​latent heat arose in ancient times since, when noting that when a phase change occurred, the temperature did not change, it was thought that the hot it was hidden (latent). On the other hand, if the heat was applied to a substance that varied in phase and increased the temperature, one spoke of sensible heat.

An example of latent heat is obtained when the ice melts and the Water returns to the liquid state. By applying heat to the ice, the temperature rises until it reaches 0ºC, which is when the change of state occurs. Thereafter, even though heat is applied, the temperature will not increase until the ice has completely melted.

Latent inhibition

LatentThroughout our lives, the brain develops countless mechanisms that facilitate our day to day, contrasted by a list of traumas that make us stumble when we come across situations that for others they may go unnoticed. However, the great complexity of our mind means that many of these phenomena are halfway between both groups, that is, they are not entirely beneficial or harmful; is that the case of the latent inhibition (abbreviated IL).

It is a way of avoiding that we fix our attention on details that are irrelevant in a certain context, allowing the brain not to become overloaded with seemingly useless information. Given that each individual perceives their environment differently, it is easy to understand that we do not all present the same level of latent inhibition.

In a relatively large group of people, it is very common for one of them to be wrongly accused of obsessive or exaggerated, with their respective more or less colloquial synonyms. While the majority attend only those stimuli what do you consider absolutely necessary, someone with a very low level of latent inhibition cannot help but stop at an imperfection, be it physical or logical, and feels the obligation to process a large amount of details to find their meanings and, in the case of errors, a possible solution, even in matters that are not of your interest.

As with other mechanisms of the brainIf someone with a low level of latent inhibition is able to capitalize on this condition, it can be an invaluable skill, especially useful in fields where attention to detail is essential, such as music or computers. If, on the contrary, the inability to pass certain data is a nuisance to you, then your life can become a torment.