It’s not like we’re getting to freezing or boiling hot. Even if you go from 60 to 75 degrees, which is a relatively normal temperature range, you still see a meaningful variation in performance, said one of the researchers!
There's always a war in the office, over the temperature. Men will want it to be colder, while women want it to be cozy. Usually, there's no winning in this one, so it is also a common sight to see most women huddled around their systems with a cardigan or a stole to keep themselves warm while the men there look mighty pleased with themselves. But, a new study has found that if women could actually control the temperature in the office, and crank it up higher, that means they would perform better? Yes, it's time to send an official mail to the HR saying the remotes need to be under your custody!
A new USC study, which was published on Wednesday in the journal PLOS One only makes things hotter as they say women tend to perform better and be more productive at slightly warmer temperatures, and the opposite of this applies for men. It’s been documented that women like warmer indoor temperatures than men, but the idea until now has been that it’s a matter of personal preference, Tom Chang, one of the co-authors of the study, said in a press release.
What we found is it’s not just whether you feel comfortable or not, but that your performance on things that matter — in math and verbal dimensions, and how hard you try — is affected by temperature, Chang added. The study notes that “at higher temperatures,” women tend to perform better at math and verbal tasks “while the reverse effect is observed in men.” It also says that women tend to be "significantly" more affected by the change in temperature than men.
To obtain these results, a variety of tests were conducted on 543 students in Germany, and 41 percent of the subjects were female. The subjects were asked to undergo tests, and the students’ math and verbal skills, as well as their cognitive reflection, were challenged. The tests were conducted in rooms where the temperatures ranged from between 16.19 to 32.57 degrees Celsius (roughly 61 to 91 degrees Fahrenheit).
Students were asked to perform simple calculations for the math test, but without the help of a calculator, and for the German test, they were asked to come up with as many German words as possible from a set of 10 letters. Also, to test their logic skills, they were given a variety of questions. Shockingly, the study found that even a slight change in temperature could have a strong positive impact on how well women perform, but it had a much smaller negative effect on men.
To know just how much of a difference it made: the study asserts that “a one-degree Celsius increase” in temperature results in women doing 1.76 percent better on math problems, while men only got .63 percent fewer answers correct. That, honestly, is a marginal difference. “One of the most surprising things we learned is this isn’t about the extremes of temperature,” Chang remarked in the press release.
It’s not like we’re getting to freezing or boiling hot. Even if you go from 60 to 75 degrees, which is a relatively normal temperature range, you still see a meaningful variation in performance, Chang added. The study pointed out one of the main areas where this information could be put to use. The study noted that “the well-known, long-standing gap in performance between high school boys and girls on the math portion of the SAT is approximately 4%.”
While math and verbal skills in men and women differ when it comes to temperature, they found it “has no significant impact” on cognitive reflection. As a result of their findings, Chang and co-author Agne Kajackaite suggest that “gender mixed workplaces may be able to increase productivity be setting the thermostat higher than current standards.” People invest a lot in making sure their workers are comfortable and highly productive, Chang added. Time to hog the AC remote!