Crank Up The Temperature! Study Reveals That Women Work Better In A Warmer Office

Crank Up The Temperature! Study Reveals That Women Work Better In A Warmer Office

I'm no scientist. I have never claimed to be. The closest I've gotten to being able to honestly consider myself a man of science was when I once, as part of an ill-advised school science experiment, tried to test a hamster's ability to form spacial memories, by timing it working its way around a maze. This experiment continued for several days until, one day - while cleaning the hamster cage in my bathroom - it ran down the plughole of my bath, never to be seen again. It preferred the prospect of a life of uncertainty in the sewers over the tyranny of a low-quality Lego maze and a young teenager with an earnest desire to impress his attractive school science teacher. I have also once skimmed through the Wikipedia page for 'science'.

However, in spite of these limitations I feel confident in saying that there are at least some physiological differences between those born male and those born female. One such difference is the tend toward a slight variation in the metabolic rates of men and women, with men typically having slightly higher metabolic rates resulting in their skin and extremities feeling warmer than women's. This is essentially the root cause for arguments over temperature controls in communal spaces.

Well, a research paper published this week in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE (Public Library of Science), concluded that women perform far better cognitively at higher temperatures than men. The study, entitled 'Battle for the thermostat: Gender and the effect of temperature on cognitive performance' was conducted using some 543 student volunteers in Berlin, Germany. The students, a mixture of male and female students, were assigned to perform three different cognitive tasks, assessing verbal and mathematical reasoning in wo rking conditions which ranged between 16 and 32 degrees Celsius. The students were split into groups randomly, featuring an even mix of male and female students in each group.

The study showed that female students showed a strong and definitive correlation between an increased ability to perform the tasks and higher temperatures, whereas male students exhibited the opposite correlation. However it is noted in the experiment that the correlation exhibiting an increase in performance for women with a higher temperature was stronger than the exhibited correlation between men performing better at lower temperatures.

So, to glibly conclude, it is better to have an office be warmer, as it has a more positive impact on the performances of women than it does a detrimental impact on the performances of men.


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Rory McNab

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