Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Gender Differences / 24.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tom Chang PhD, BS, MIT Associate Professor of Finance and Business Economics Marshall School of Business MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There have been many studies showing that women prefer higher indoor temperatures than men, however nobody looked at the effect of temperature on performance. We show that the battle for the thermostat is not just about the comfort. It is much more – in our experiment, women’s cognitive functioning is the best at high temperatures, whereas men’s at low temperatures. Significantly, the positive effect of increased temperatures on women’s performance is much stronger than the negative effect on men. The most surprising was that the effect of temperature on women is so strong. For instance, at low temperatures, men outperform women in a simple math task. However, when we increase the temperature, women become better and better (1.76% increase of solved tasks with each 1 Celsius increase), and at high temperatures women and men perform on the same level – the gender difference disappears.