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Does global warming lead to violence and aggression?

Researchers Developed A New Model That Goes Beyond The Simple Fact That Hotter Temperatures Due To Global Warming Seem To Be Linked To More Aggressive Behaviour.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Nivedita R | Updated on: 28 Jun 2016, 03:01:53 PM
Global warming linked to violence and aggression, says study

New Delhi:

The ever changing climate has become a major concern in today’s time. One of the interesting studies has revealed that hot climates due to global warming and less variation in seasonal temperatures lead to a faster life strategy, less focus on the future and lower self-control.

The study explains why some violent crime rates are higher near the equator than other parts of the world. Researchers developed a new model that goes beyond the simple fact that hotter temperatures due to global warming seem to be linked to more aggressive behaviour.

“Climate shapes how people live, it affects the culture in ways that we don’t think about in our daily lives,” said Brad Bushman, from the Ohio State University in the US.

“We believe our model can help explain the impact of climate on rates of violence in different parts of the world,” said Paul van Lange, from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). The researchers call the new model CLimate Aggression, and Self-control in Humans (CLASH). 

Many studies have shown that levels of violence and aggression are higher in hot climates that are caused due to global warming, researchers said.

“But the two leading explanations of why that is so aren’t satisfactory,” Bushman said. The General Aggression Model suggests hot temperatures make people uncomfortable and irritated, which make them more aggressive. “But that doesn’t explain more extreme acts, such as murder,” Bushman said.

Another explanation known as Routine Activity Theory is that people are outdoors and interacting more with others when weather is warm, which leads to more opportunities for conflict.

However, that does not explain why there is more violence when the temperature is 35 degrees Celsius than when it is 24 degrees Celsius even though people might be outside under both circumstances.

The CLASH model states that it is not just hotter temperatures that lead to more violence,  it is also climates that have less seasonal variation in temperature.

“Less variation in temperature, combined with heat, brings some measure of consistency to daily life,” said Maria Rinderu of VU. That means there is less need to plan for large swings between warm and cold weather.

The result is a faster life strategy that is not as concerned about the future and leads to less need for self-control, researchers said. People living in these hot climates are oriented to the present rather than the future and have a fast life strategy they do things now.

With a faster life strategy and an orientation toward the present, people have to practice less self-control, he said.  That can lead people to react more quickly with aggression and sometimes violence. The study was published in the journal Behavioural and Brain Sciences. 

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First Published : 26 Jun 2016, 02:28:00 PM