Heat can provoke people to unreasonable aggression: scientists explained who is at risk

Dmytro IvancheskulLife
Heat can awaken in some people far from the best qualities

Scientists know that periods of prolonged heat waves trigger wars and unrest on Earth. Yes, you could say that this is caused by crop failures and water supply problems, which ultimately cause a domino effect. But a new study shows that the heat itself can also have a negative effect on individuals, causing them to become unprovoked aggressive.

That's according to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research as a working paper. LiveScience tells LiveScience the details.

The researchers found that the people most susceptible to the negative effects of heat are those who already feel marginalized - pushed out by society, the political system, being members of national minorities, migrants, people from rural areas, etc.

"Given the climate change and temperature changes that are happening around the world, we think this is an important area of research," said Robert Pickmans, a doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley, co-author of the new paper.

The scientist said that unlike other studies, which had small and limited sample sizes, the new study involved about 900 participants from Berkeley, USA, and 1,000 from Nairobi, Kenya.

The volunteers were in two separate rooms, one kept at 22 degrees Celsius and the other at 30 degrees Celsius. In these rooms they were given a standard set of tests on decision-making and cognitive abilities, after which the scientists compared the data obtained.

It turned out that there weren't many differences. In the hot room, people complained of drowsiness, but in general their decision-making ability did not deteriorate, although they stopped making decisions, trusting intuition.

But an interesting result was obtained during a task called "the joy of destruction". During this test, a participant was given the opportunity to erase part of another subject's savings. At the same time, the one who did this was promised no monetary or any other reward. That is, as the scientist explained, the task involved only the desire to release aggression.

In most cases, the heat did not affect the way people played "joy of destruction" in Berkeley, but in Nairobi, participants in the hot room were more ruthless.

Further research found that this effect was due to the fact that the participants belonged to ethnic groups marginalized by the disputed elections that turned daily life in Kenya at the time.

Pickmans said the results of this game could confirm the link between temperature and political violence.

In the future, the researchers intend to conduct similar tests, but increase the amount of time the participants in the experiment stay in the rooms, and increase the temperature in the hot room above 30 degrees Celsius.

As told OBOZREVATEL, scientists suggest that global warming can kill a billion people in 100 years.

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