We consider a lot of factors when making big career decisions, but should we consider the temperature outside?
Katherine Milkman, a University of Pennsylvania behavioral scientist, recently wrote in The Washington Post that hot weather can lead to bad decision-making. Crime goes up, and road rage incidents increase, she reports. Baseball players even intentionally hit batters more often during hot games.
“If you’ve got a tough conversation to have with colleagues, friends or family, maybe wait until a cooler day — or at least until everyone involved has had some time in front of the air conditioner,” Milkman writes.
Heat can tax our systems. Our bodies work harder to cool down than to warm up, using up large amounts of glucose and robbing our minds of the fuel, Scientific American reported in a 2013 article.
Researchers Amar Cheema of the University of Virginia and Vanessa M. Patrick of the University of Houston tested subjects on their proofreading abilities. They found that proofreaders in rooms set at 77 degrees missed almost half of the spelling and grammatical errors, while proofreaders in rooms set 10 degrees cooler missed only a quarter of errors.
They also tested subjects tasked with choosing a good cell phone plan. Subjects in the warmer room chose the best plan a quarter of the time, while subjects in the cooler room choose it half the time.
So if you’ve got a big career decision to make, you should definitely consider your levels of curiosity about a potential career and make sure you’re not being pressured too much from other parties, but you also should consider waiting for cooler days before you make any big moves, or at least spend some time in air conditioning.