Psychology

The Link between Hot Weather and Violence



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When summer approaches people look forward to spending time out of doors, lapping up sunshine and enjoying lazy hours as the temperature soars and lethargy sets in. However, it is probable that not many people consider the link between hot weather and violence. The rising temperature that accompanies summer may not only result in hazy, fun filled times, as it can lead to extra crime due to tempers flaring.

People often make the connection between heat and anger without recognizing it and this can be seen in the language they use. They may speak of aggressive people who ‘lose their cool’ and become ‘hot-tempered.’ It is by no mistake that such language links bad moods with being hot, as studies show that there is indeed a correlation between getting hot under the collar and aggressive crime.

Psychologists 90’s crime dropped. The results are not surprising, as it makes perfect sense that this would be so.

When people become uncomfortable in the heat, they are likely to find it hard to concentrate and relax. The discomfort they experience can make them edgy and snappy. At the same time, their testosterone levels are likely to increase and there have been suggestions that the hormone testosterone can fuel angry episodes.

It is also thought that people associate bad experiences with feeling uncomfortable. If they subconsciously attribute feeling hot and sticky with negativity, they may be more likely to become unhappy.

Plausibly, the feeling of discomfort people experience when the temperature rises could cause a similar reaction to frustration. One theory about what causes aggression is that displaced frustration results in anger. According to the BBC, when individuals hamper people’s goals and there seems to be no good reason, they become frustrated and aggressive. Hence, if someone is busy and another person bumps into him or her due to being slow and clumsy in the heat, this may spark an aggressive act.

Other theories about why people may become violent suggest that overcrowding and loud, unexpected noises can result in angry acts of aggression. During the summer when the temperature is high people tend to gather in the same places. Congestion results in excess noise and a lack of personal space and freedom of movement, which may be the underlying cause of the problem.

There again, the link between anger and a high temperature could be due to more people being around in general, resulting in the potential for increased violence. It is also true that in hot countries socio-economic factors may come into play, as poverty has been shown to result in criminal activity in some cases.

When the temperature peaks at the top of the scale people are likely to retreat indoors and stay out of each other’s way. There is far less crime when people are not mingling. They may feel too hot to exert energy, pick fights and interact aggressively. The summer heat can eventually lead to crime rates involving violence falling, until the temperature falls too and people have more energy.

It would seem that although the warmth of the sun can make people feel good, once it becomes uncomfortable to experience and more people are in public places, crime rates soar. However, when the temperature tips the scales the level of violence drops, making the world a safer place for a while.

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More about this author: Bridget Webber

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ARTICLE SOURCES AND CITATIONS
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://news.yahoo.com/severe-between-hot-weather-violence-194949650.html
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/index.php/papers/details/crime_and_poverty_evidence_from_a_natural_experiment/