Anyone who has ever worked in an office setting will likely have seen women with extra blankets thrown on their chairs and space heaters under their desks because they can’t control the office temperature and they’re cold.
Well, a new study has found that women would crank the temperature in the office up if they could, and it would have a positive impact on their cognitive functioning.
A recent study, published in PLOS One, confirms that women perform better on verbal tasks and math in warmer environments, while men perform better in colder ones.
550 German college students have been recruited by researchers and given cognitive tasks like making words out of a random set of letter and solving math problems. Temperatures varied from 61 to 90 degrees F, and they found that women performed better on both verbal tasks and math as temps got warmer, while men performed better when the temps got colder.
The impact wasn’t large from a percentage perspective, but Agne Kajackaite, the study’s lead author, says that it does matter, because the temperature preferences in the workplace usually vary by more than a single degree – and it further compounds the results.
Some studies have found that the female core body temperature is a bit higher than men’s, however, a 2015 paper published by ‘Nature’ has found that most offices set their thermostats using a male-centric “thermal comfort model”, and it is “non-energy-efficient in providing comfort to females”.
Cynthia Nixon even called the colder temperatures favored by men “notoriously sexist” while running for governor of New York.
Kajackaite’s study has shown that the gender gap is huge in the math task when both women and men start at low temperatures. However, as the temperature increases, women become better and better, and at some point, there’s no gender gap.