Temperature affects your ability to make decisions


Matching patterns of sales data for lottery games in one American county for a year against daily temperature has revealed that sales for scratch tickets (many options to select) fell by nearly $600 with every 1° Fahrenheit increase in temperature. On the other hand, sales for lotto tickets, which require fewer decisions, were not affected.

Following this finding up with a series of lab experiments, researchers found that increases of a mere 5°F in temperature (against the ‘most comfortable’ 72°) significantly reduced cognitive performance on a variety of cognitive tasks (proofreading; choosing between two cell phone plans; choosing between an innovative or a traditional product).

It is suggested that warmer temperatures, which require our body to exert cooling efforts, deplete glucose levels (interestingly, cooling ourselves down is apparently more effortful than warming ourselves up), leaving less energy available for cognition.


[3335] Cheema, A., & Patrick V. M.
(2012).  Influence of Warm Versus Cool Temperatures on Consumer Choice: A Resource Depletion Account.
Journal of Marketing Research. 49(6), 984 - 995.

Related News

Another study looking into the urban-nature effect issue takes a different tack than those I’ve previously reported on, that look at the attention-refreshing benefits of natural environments.

It’s estimated that 43%-70% of those with multiple sclerosis suffer from some level of cognitive impairment (yes, a very broad range! perhaps the finding of this study offers one clue why).

In the last five years, three studies have linked lower neighborhood socioeconomic status to lower cognitive function in older adults. Neighborhood has also been linked to self-rated health, cardiovascular disease, and mortality.

A study involving 50 people with MS (aged 18-65), of whom half used marijuana for pain relief, has found that marijuana users performed significantly worse on tests of attention, speed of thinking, executive function and visual perception of spatial relationships between objects.

A study involving 750 sets of twins assessed at about 10 months and 2 years, found that at 10 months, there was no difference in how the children from different socioeconomic backgrounds performed on tests of early cognitive ability.

Five years ago I reported on a finding that primary school children exposed to loud aircraft noise showed impaired reading comprehension (see below).

Subscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest health newsSubscribe to Latest news