Research Design Connection: Temperature and Taking Risks


Syndicus, Wiese and van Treeck studied how temperature influences decision making, finding that at warmer temperatures people seem to take more risks. The team reports that when “two groups…completed the aforementioned tasks either in a warm (≥ 30°C) or neutral (≤ 25°C) ambient temperature condition, participants made significantly riskier decisions in the warm ambient temperature condition…Especially elevated ambient temperatures should, therefore, be monitored in office environments to prevent impairments of decision making.”

Marc Syndicus, Bettina Wiese and Christoph van Treeck. “In the Heat and Noise of the Moment: Effects on Risky Decision Making.” Environment and Behavior, in press.

Sally Augustin, PhD, a cognitive scientist, is the editor of Research Design Connections (, a monthly subscription newsletter and free daily blog, where recent and classic research in the social, design, and physical sciences that can inform designers’ work are presented in straightforward language. Readers learn about the latest research findings immediately, before they’re available elsewhere. Sally, who is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, is also the author of Place Advantage: Applied Psychology for Interior Architecture (Wiley, 2009) and, with Cindy Coleman, The Designer’s Guide to Doing Research: Applying Knowledge to Inform Design (Wiley, 2012). She is a principal at Design With Science ( and can be reached at