This Week in the Annals of Social Science

The Washington Post reports the following:

A host of research suggests that as it gets hotter, people tend to make worse decisions: Not only do we get more ornery and cranky — we can also make unwise long-term decisions whose effects we’ll feel well after the temperature has dropped.

This may explain a lot about Congress. As good a reason as I can think of for simply shutting down Washington DC completely for the summer months. Now, we can start the search for scientific reasons to shut it down the other nine months of the year.

Meanwhile, the Progressive mind can never seem to decide whether they want more democracy—because democracy—or less democracy, because voters are irrational rubes who deserve to be ruled by their betters. Especially after they vote for Trump.

Want more reasons to suggest voting might not be the best form of government? Columbia Business School has the paper for you!

How Wind Speed Affects Voting Decisions

Jon M. Jachimowicz, Jochen I. Menges, Adam D. Galinsky


Many theories of democracy propose that individuals make voting decisions after deliberately considering electoral options. The current research, however, finds that an incidental factor — wind speed on Election Day — affects voting decisions. We present a causal model for how wind speed affects voting decisions: higher wind speed increases a psychological prevention focus that makes voters more inclined to select prevention-focused options (e.g., reflecting safety) over promotion-focused options (e.g., reflecting risk and change). Archival analyses of four elections (the “Brexit” vote, the Scotland independence referendum, 10 years of Swiss referendums, and 100 years of US presidential elections), one field study, and one lab experiment found that individuals exposed to higher wind speed become more prevention-focused and more likely to support prevention-focused electoral options. Notably, analyses also revealed that wind speed only affected elections involving clear prevention versus promotion options. The findings highlight the importance of incidental environmental factors for voting decisions.

So let’s see if I can connect these two stories into a policy: if it’s hot on election day, turning on fans to cool people off will only compound the problem of bad election decisions? And did they test for a merely light breeze? I look forward to the “further research” on resolving these connected but contradictory problems.

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