Uncomfortably hot temperatures may make people moody and less likely to be helpful or prosocial, a study suggests.
“(The) ambient temperature affects individual states that shape emotional and behavioural reactions, so people help less in an uncomfortable environment,” said Liuba Belkin, associate professor at Lehigh University, US.
As part of their study, researchers first collected data from a large retail chain and analysed the differences in individual behaviour under hot versus normal temperature conditions.
They found that clerks working in an uncomfortably hot environment were 50 per cent less likely to engage in prosocial behaviours, including: volunteering to help customers and making suggestions. For a subsequent part of the study, researchers chose students in two sections of a college management course as subjects and made them sit in rooms with a temperature difference of 15 per cent.The team then asked the students to fill out a survey “for a non-profit organisation that serves children and underprivileged individuals…”
Researchers found only 64 per cent in the hotter room agreed to answer at least one question, while in the cooler room 95 per cent did so. Even those in the hotter room who agreed to help answered, on average, six questions, six times less than those answered by those in the cooler room (average 35).
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