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Climate Extreme Heat

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Heat waves don’t just make you sweat — they can also mess with your brain. It’s been established that hot weather can result in lower scores on math tests and higher rates of aggression, ranging from mean-spirited behavior to violent crime. A small but growing body of research suggests it can also influence how people talk. 

Politicians tend to use shorter words in speeches when the temperature outside is 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter, according to a study published in the journal iScience on Thursday. The analysis looked at 7 million speeches across eight countries — the United States, the United Kingdom, Austria, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Denmark, Spain, and Germany — comparing them against the average temperature the day they were delivered. Cold days didn’t produce the same effect.

Understanding the consequences of heat on cognitive abilities is becoming particularly important as the climate warms, said Risto Conte Keivabu, a co-author of the study who researches climate change at the Max Planck Institute of Demographic Research in Germany. ... Read more

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