Office Temperatures Really Are 'Sexist'

Researchers see how women fare in warmer rooms
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2019 4:35 PM CDT
Office Temperatures Really Are 'Sexist'
That does look chilly.   (Getty Images)

The sweater. The jacket. The shawl. Women have ways of coping with office temperatures, which are geared for the faster male metabolism. Now there's a study showing that women actually perform better when it's warmer, the Smithsonian reports. Researchers recruited 543 German college students, male and female, and gave them three sets of problems. One was 50 addition tests to complete in five minutes; another asked them to create as many German words as possible with ADEHINRSTU in five minutes; the last was "cognitive reflection challenges" with somewhat unintuitive answers. For example, "A bat and a ball cost 1.10 euros in total. The bat costs 1.00 euro more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?" (Nope, it's not 0.10 euros.)

Results showed that temperature mattered—at least somewhat. Researchers varied the room temperature between 61 and 91 degrees Fahrenheit and found that women fared better on verbal tasks and math when the room was warmed up. Each boost of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit was linked to a 1.76% increase in the number of correct math questions from women; the same boost increased their performance on "ADEHINRSTU" by 1%. Men fared a little worse in warmer rooms, but not as much. So why do women not only fare better, but get more done, when it's warmer? "Females feel better when it's warmer, so they can exert more effort," co-author Agne Kajackaite tells the New York Times. "On a good day, you will try more. On a bad day, you will try less." (See how a world built for men "is killing women.")

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