I’m hot – so don’t bother me

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

WARM weather makes us feel dis­tinctly frosty to­wards our fel­low hu­mans, ac­cord­ing to new re­search.

As the mer­cury rises, men and women be­come less so­cia­ble and less in­clined to help oth­ers, sci­en­tists have found.

In fact, the hot­ter it is, the more dras­tic the drop in the num­ber of peo­ple pre­pared to of­fer their as­sis­tance.

In one ex­per­i­ment, a 5°C rise in tem­per­a­ture led to a 50% drop in will­ing­ness to help.

One the­ory be­hind the re­search is that we have evolved to be more self­ish in or­der to pre­serve our own en­ergy re­sources dur­ing pe­ri­ods of ex­cess heat.

The re­search, pub­lished in the Euro­pean Jour­nal of Psy­chol­ogy, in­volved sev­eral ex­per­i­ments to as­sess the af­fects of heat on hu­man-so­cial be­hav­iour.

One in­volved sub­jects be­ing told that a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion serv­ing chil­dren and the un­der­priv­i­leged wanted help with a sur­vey.

Half were lo­cated in a room where the tem­per­a­ture was 26.7°C, and the oth­ers, where it was 20.6°C.

The sub­jects in the warmer room an­swered sig­nif­i­cantly fewer ques­tions than those in the cooler room.

Just 63.9% of those in the hot room helped by an­swer­ing at least one ques­tion, com­pared to 94.6% in the cooler room.

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