On very hot days, the language politicians use is different

About the episode

Heat waves affect us humans and the planet we live on in many ways. Now researchers have noticed something very remarkable along these lines: rising temperatures are leading to the use of different language by politicians.

They came to this conclusion by analyzing 7 million political speeches by 28,000 politicians from 8 different countries. Speeches spread over several decades.

On days when it was very hot, the language in these speeches seemed less complex than on days when the temperature was average or cool.

This is not the first time a link between heat and decreased cognitive skills has been suggested. So it’s not entirely surprising that this will also have an impact on the language used by people who have to make important decisions, but it’s something we might not think about much.

The researchers used data from Germany to zoom in for age and gender as well. The effect on language use was greater among older politicians than among younger politicians. This is also in line with findings from other studies.

How bad can language use change in this way on hot days? Perhaps this will lead to better understanding among the audience. This will have a positive side effect. A brain that works less efficiently is at a disadvantage when you have to make important decisions that can have an impact on the entire society.

But it actually applies to all of us: If our brains work less well on hot days, maybe we should take that into consideration more. Some decisions, meetings or discussions may be postponed until after the heat wave.

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Read more about the research here: MPs use simpler language on hot days

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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