Research: why summer heat makes us so irritable & grumpy

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Now there is a scientific explanation!

Scientists have published a study in the European Journal of Social Psychology, which suggests that in the heat people are more irritable, less contact and less likely to help others.

Researchers Liuba Belkin and Maryam Kouchaki conducted 3 experiments to test the effect of temperature discomfort on human emotions and behavior.

At the first stage of the research, scientists analyzed the behavior of the Moscow store chain sellers in 2010 and 2011, when extreme heat was observed. They found that, in the heat of the day, they were less inclined to help visitors.

Subsequently, the scientists checked whether the effect would be repeated in the absence of direct exposure to temperature. For this, 160 people were divided into two groups and one of them was asked to close their eyes and recall the experience of an unpleasant overheating of the body. It turned out that even the imaginary heat reduced the willingness to cooperate!

At the third stage, 73 students were in the classroom with an air temperature of 26.7 or 20.6 °C. Then they were asked in writing to answer as many questions as possible for the organization, which helps children and people in difficult situations. The hotter audience temperature again coincided with a decrease in motivation to help.

“We found that air temperature affects individual states that form emotional and behavioral responses, so people are less inclined to help in an uncomfortable environment, finding various reasons to justify,” says Belkin.

Belkin argues that these results also apply to the workplace and encourages employers to provide employees with a comfortable temperature (like animals in a zoo). If they sweat too much, they will quit.

“We know that money is important,” she says, “but only up to a certain limit.”


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