Turning up the heat: The impact of indoor temperature on selected cognitive processes and the validity of self-report

Martijn Stroom*, Nils Kok, Martin Strobel, Piet M. A. Eichholtz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Indoor climate interventions are often motivated from a worker comfort and productivity perspective. However, therelationship between indoor climate and human performance remains unclear. We assess the effect of indoor climate factorson human performance, focusing the effects of indoor temperature ondecision processes. Specifically, we expect heat tonegatively influence higher cognitive rational processes, forcing people to rely more on intuitive shortcuts. In a laboratorysetting, participants (N=257) were exposed to a controlled physical environment with either a hot temperature (28ºC) or aneutral temperature (22ºC), in which a battery of validated test were conducted. Heat exposure did not lead to a differencein decision quality. We did find evidence for a strong gender difference in self-report, such that only men expect that hightemperature leads to a significant decline in performance, which does not in fact materialize. These results cast doubt on thevalidity of self-report as a proxy for performance under different indoor climate situations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)766-795
JournalJudgment and Decision Making
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • indoor climate
  • heat
  • performance
  • decision quality
  • heuristics
  • biases
  • risk-taking
  • self-report

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