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How the weather can affect your behavior

How the weather can affect your behavior

You have probably noticed the typical weather changes that our elders tend to talk about.

The effects of the climate exist and are there, although normally people tend to associate them with various pains (such as joint pains), it seems that these effects may have some kind of relation to human behavior. But, be careful, since relationship does not imply causality; Just because two situations occur at the same time does not mean that one causes the other.

Knowing this, today we are going to do a brief review of some of the behavioral changes that can cause the effects of the weather; such as extreme heat or cold, seasonal changes, or even the moon. And, again, we remember that correlation does not imply causation.

How heat affects behavior

Heat, or hot weather, can have some strange but known effects on our behavior. One of them is violence, as according to studies such as the work published last year in 2013 Science, high temperatures increase the amount of violent conflict interpersonal (the typical fights between friends or family) and war conflicts. Furthermore, the number of these conflicts increased proportionally with temperature.

On the other hand, there are other types of less aggressive behavior during the few summers: Gambling players increase, for the heat seems to increase the feeling of excitement related to the risk of the bet; individuals tend to tell the truth more and be more generous (high temperatures seem to affect the cerebral insular cortex, responsible for human empathy); and also more pregnancies occur.

Regarding this last point, the previous hypothesis implies that heat makes us prone to have more sexual relations. However, recent studies indicate that the climate change and excess current high temperatures they can change things, negatively influencing human fertility.

Finally, we also have a 2014 investigation published in Acta Psychologyca where the results indicate that people who receive heat through therapeutic pads, cups of coffee or hot tea, or who are in a warm room tend to improve your creativity and cognitive ability.

How do temperature changes affect our behavior

Another curious effect that changes in temperature between cold and heat can cause is alter our way of judging others.

At least, as follows from a study published last year in 2014 PloS ONE, where the 133 students who participated in the work were asked about the premeditation (or not) of the criminals in the face of different murders.

Interestingly, those who were questioned in cold rooms tended to identify criminals as cold-blooded killers to those who had been premeditated, while people who were asked in hot rooms tended to view criminals as impulsive and brash.

How cold affects our behavior

According to another study published last year 2012 in the Journal of Consumer Research, During the few low temperatures, humans tend to increase our romantic behavior, as a form of seeking psychological warmth.

During the experiment, the researchers manipulated the room temperature and asked the participants to choose a film. According to their results, those in rooms with lower temperatures tended to choose romantic films.

On the other hand, this effect did not occur in those people who did not associate romantic films with psychological warmth, something quite logical on the other hand.

How seasonal change affects our behavior

Sadly, there are studies that have related seasonal changes (such as the final season of spring and the beginning of summer) with an increase in suicides. One of these studies was published last year 2006 in the American Journal of Epidemiology; however, this study denied this belief.

According to the researchers, it is not the seasonal change itself that causes the increase in suicide. It is not the fault of the heat as previously stated, but the relationship indicates that it is due to the lack of low temperatures as such. Also, only one suicide spike was detected in the summer, and there really are spikes in the winter too. There are other factors more important than the seasons, such as the hours of sunshine or the amount of rainfall (regardless of the season of the year as such).

On the other hand, there is another myth that the media still maintains that would imply increase in winter suicides (especially on few holidays). However, this is not true, since suicide spikes occur to a greater extent in other seasons.

Still, current studies contradict each other. Some maintain the seasonal change hypothesis (as a 2013 study from Denmark published in the British Medical Journal), and others like the one we have commented on.

How the full moon affects our behavior

Finally, there is a myth still in force which states that the full moon increases the number of crimes that are committed, even increasing the police presence in the United Kingdom for this belief.

However, both the study published in the British Medical Journal in 1984 as another more recent article published last year in the International Journal of Criminoly & Sociological Theory have reached the same conclusion: Full moon DOES NOT increase criminal behavior.

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