Does a Rise in Temperature Equal a Spike in Aggression?


Aggression in the workplace

Does a Rise in Temperature Equal a Spike in Aggression?

Social Psychology explains.

Social psychology can be defined as the study of individuals in social situations.

Social psychology has a main focus on how an individual thinks, feels and behaves. For example, they may do a follow up study to see if hot weather makes people act more aggressively. As we head into the colder months colds and flu’s are likely to hit the workplace, however as things begin to warm up in the coming months there is something else to hit workplaces you may not be aware of.

Past psychology studies have shown that as temperatures rise, such as in the summer months, aggressive and violent behaviour increases.

This is a topic which puzzles some employers that do not have air conditioning or for those who work outdoors. It may seem obvious, but if employees are hot and bothered than you can almost be certain you will experience a change in attitudes, work ethics, productivity and efficiency. Wanting to live and work in comfort is a basic human need that resinates with feeling safe and secure. If we are left to sit or stand in one place for hours without a break, food, water or comfort then rest assured we may grow a little (or a lot) cranky.

If your business works outdoors, ensure that when you hire people they are made aware that they may be outdoors in the sun for hours at a time and will need to be physically and mentally prepared for this. This includes water bottles, hats, sunscreen, protective clothing and most importantly, access to breaks. People lucky enough to work indoors also need to be drinking water regularly as the body can dry out and dehydrate from the lack of fresh air.

As I wrap up this short and sweet article, I leave you with some interesting facts on the realms of social psychology:

  • Courses in social psychology are often required or encouraged for students interested in careers in business, marketing, education, law, and journalism.
  • Some advanced graduates with a PHD in social psychology work in law firms, government agencies and a variety of business settings involving investment banking, marketing, advertising, human resources, negotiating, and social networking.

Thus social psychology plays a role in our everyday lives, not just within the context of being social, but at work.



Kassin, Saul, Steven Fein, Hazel Rose Markus. Social Psychology, 9e, 9th Edition. Cengage Learning.


Simone Ortolani – freshHRinsights