Am I the only person in the country who detests this infernal heat? This balmy weather that leaves you feeling all hot and bothered and your mind befuddled. I’m not averse to a spot of sunshine. I acknowledge that the obvious presence of the sun and a blue sky makes you feel happier; that’s why millions of us fly abroad each year in search of this often elusive celestial object. I’d just like it to be present with a little less heat.
It becomes unbearable when it’s so hot that just walking about is exhausting – like swimming in a suit of armour. Your clothes stick to you like survivors on a raft, and your hair does whatever the hell it likes, the sweat giving it complete autonomy. If I were forced to live in a year-round hot climate, after installing air-conditioning, I’d become a recluse. The only positive to the heat is that it keeps the slugs at bay. Unfortunately, as night follows day, so with every positive comes a negative – an army of insects to do battle with instead.
In the same way the sun can make us feel more cheerful, its heat can also heighten aggression. It was reported by National Geographic News on 24th March 2010, that a recent study has shown how an increase in violence is as a direct result of rising temperatures caused by global warming (if there is such a thing). The study looked at statistics of yearly temperatures, and compared them to violent crime rates between 1950 and 2008. What it discovered was that when the temperature rose in the US, then so did the level of volatility in human behaviour, but at an alarming rate. An increase of 8 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celcius) meant homicide and assault cases could surge by an estimated one hundred thousand cases.
“Higher temperatures can increase human aggression in myriad ways,” said study co-author Matthew DeLisi, a sociologist at Iowa State University.
Brad Bushman, a psychologist at the University of Michigan who specializes in human aggression, agreed.
“Hot temperatures make people cranky and irritable,” said Bushman, who did not participate in the new research. “Cranky, irritable people are prone to aggression.”
It isn’t just the irritability we have to worry about. The hotter weather leads to more social interaction and increased opportunities to commit an offence.
Simon Fraser, criminal psychologist at the University of Canada, supports these theories adding that the heat has a physiological effect on the human condition making us believe we are less energetic, when this is not in fact the case.
“The fact that hot people are more aroused but think they are less aroused means that they overreact to provocations,” Bushman said.
That revered Mancunian philosopher, Karl Pilkington, has speculated on this matter himself, and personally attests to the benefits of a cooler climate: “Let’s face it, you never hear about Eskimos kicking off. The cold calms them down.”
So given the evidence, I think I’m on the side of the Eskimos… I’d rather be cold and a bit fed up, than sweaty and driven to the edge of violence. I just don’t fancy eating frozen raw whale blubber and shitting into a bag.
Image credit: benchart / 123RF Stock Photo