Climate Change

Published on April 20th, 2012 | by James Ayre

Belief in Global Warming Changed by Room Temperature


Sitting in a warm room is apparently all it takes to change someone’s belief in global warming. “A hot conservative looks like a cold liberal,” as lead researcher Jane Risen states.

In a study done by Jane L. Risen of The University of Chicago and Clayton R. Critcher of The University of California Berkeley, it has been shown that room temperature has a large effect on belief in global warming.

The research was done to test the effects of visceral states, such as warmth and thirst, on belief in future environmental states, such as global warming and drought.

The researchers found that warmth influenced belief in global warming, even indoors, in a cubicle, when the temperature outdoors at the time was much cooler. The researchers also found that thirst impacted forecasts of future drought and desertification.

The research was done by testing the participants in a variety of different settings. The participants in the warm room “constructed more fluent mental representations of hot (vs. cold) outdoor temperatures, and those who were led to construe the same hot outdoor images more fluently believed more in global warming.”

“Together, the results suggest that visceral states can influence one’s beliefs by making matching states of the world easier to simulate and therefore seem more likely.”

This also matches up well with people changing their mind about global warming as the seasons change, and then people changing their minds the other way as the seasons change:

Source: University of Chicago/University of California Berkeley
Image Credit: Drought land via Shutterstock

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About the Author

‘s background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

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