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PLoS One. 2019 May 22;14(5):e0216362. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0216362. eCollection 2019.

Battle for the thermostat: Gender and the effect of temperature on cognitive performance.

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USC Marshall School of Business, Los Angeles, CA, United States of America.
WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Berlin, Germany.


This paper studies differences in the effect of temperature on cognitive performance by gender in a large controlled lab experiment (N = 543). We study performance in math, verbal and cognitive reflection tasks and find that the effects of temperature vary significantly across men and women. At higher temperatures, women perform better on a math and verbal task while the reverse effect is observed for men. The increase in female performance in response to higher temperature is significantly larger and more precisely estimated than the corresponding decrease in male performance. In contrast to math and verbal tasks, temperature has no impact on a measure of cognitive reflection for either gender. Our findings suggest that gender mixed workplaces may be able to increase productivity by setting the thermostat higher than current standards.

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