Berkeley economists find ‘hotter temperatures lead to hotter tempers’

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Cal is a school infamous for its stressors. We all are pretty competitive, and often we’re even competing against ourselves; we came to Cal to make ourselves better, didn’t we? In the quest for bettering ourselves, though, the basic necessities are neglected during the semester. Eating and workout habits go awry, sleeping patterns tend toward the nocturnal and relationships are strained.

But did you ever stop to consider that the weather could push us even further and make us take our stress out on other people in even worse ways? A recent study published in Science — for which two of the researchers are from UC Berkeley — found that hotter temperatures in weather really do make people more hot-headed. The study suggests that, historically, wars and other kinds of violence tended to occur during periods of extreme weather.

We think there has to be some truth to this research. We’ve done our own observations when it gets warm in Berkeley. Everyone feels a little groggier and crankier when we get an uncharacteristic “heat wave” of 80-something degrees. There’s no air conditioning in most Berkeley housing, so we don’t feel like doing anything in our puddles of sweat. When we don’t get anything done, we’re annoyed (mostly at ourselves). And then we take that annoyance out on the people surrounding us.

So though you may love the sun and complain of Berkeley’s “bipolar weather,” be grateful that you have one less stressor on you. Clouds and colder weather can make us sad, but a little chill may help you keep your own cool.

It’s not like we need any more reasons to sweat during that first exam of the semester.

Image source: Giulia Forsythe, under Creative Commons

Contact Jessica Rogness at [email protected]