If your brain doesn't work today, blame the weather

Hot temps can lead to slower mental function
Posted at 8:52 AM, Jul 19, 2018

DENVER — If your brain isn't firing on all cylinders today, blame it on the heat. A recent study out of Harvard University finds brains function is about 13 percent slower when the temperatures spike.

Researchers split college students in Boston into two groups and had half take cognitive tests in dorms with no air conditioning and the other half in dorms with air conditioning during the 2016 Boston heat wave. The students in the warmer rooms had 13.4 percent longer reaction times on color-word tests, and 13.3 percent lower addition/subtraction test scores compared with students with air-conditioned rooms.

Furthermore, the most significant brain function differences were seen even after the temperatures dropped outside, but remained elevated in the rooms without air conditioning.

Brain function may have something to do with why researchers also see an increase in crime during hotter days.

A study out of Drexel University looked at 10 years of crime data in Philadelphia and found spikes in violent crime and disorderly conduct when the temperature goes up, no matter what the season. 

The Denver Post crime map shows that for the period from June 18th to July 18th this year, crime was higher than average in most Denver neighborhoods.