New York: Researchers have found that women tend to perform better on math and verbal tests at higher temperatures, while men perform the same tests best at lower temperatures.
“Consistent with their preferences for temperature, for both math and verbal tasks, women perform better at higher temperatures while men perform better at lower temperatures,” said study authors Tom Chang from the University of Southern California and Agne Kajackaite from WZB Berlin Social Science Centre.
Although previous studies say that women tend to prefer higher indoor temperatures than men, no experimental research examining temperature’s effect on cognitive performance has taken possible gender differences into account.
For the study, researchers studied 500 students, out of which 41 per cent were female. They took logic, math, and verbal tests in a room at randomly manipulated indoor temperatures.
It was found that female students generally performed better on math and verbal tests when the room temperature was at the warmer end of the distribution. Male students generally performed better on these tests at lower temperatures.
Temperature did not appear to impact performance on the logic test for either gender.
The researchers suggest that ambient temperature might impact more than just comfort, noting that it is possible that ‘ordinary variations in room temperature can affect cognitive performance significantly and differently for men and women’.
The study participants were a relatively homogenous group of German university students, so the effects of temperature might vary for other demographic groups.