Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Postulating on Road Rage, Riots, and The Arab Spring

Well, I live in a desert resort city, and although I do a lot of traveling in the summertime, sometimes I am here when the temperature reaches 115 degrees Fahrenheit. It seems as though there are more traffic accidents, more road rage, and people are at their wits end here by the middle of the day when those temperatures occur. This is known as thermal stress, and it affects people's mental cognition, and their bodies at a cellular level. It's a very real stress, and there have been incredible number of studies done on this. Okay so let's talk shall we?
There was an interesting research paper put out titled; "Hot Temperatures, Hostile Affects, Hostile Cognition, and Arousal: Tests of a General Model of Affective Aggression," by Craig A. Anderson, William E. Deuser, and Christina M. DeNeve of University of Missouri - Columbia where the authors did some tests and suggested that heat aggression was potentially the cause of 3-factors, and that it had been recorded and assumed throughout the ages in historical writings. The team noted higher levels of aggression but lower levels of perceived aggression which was also interesting.
Observers driving around in an air-conditioned car will notice outrageous behavior on hot days - aggressive drivers, road rage too, and yet those doing the aggression don't appear to consider any of their behavior unacceptable and seem to easily rationalize it. Well, this study and research seems to indicate why in that case. In one experiment they used video games to judge aggression, and above 80 to 94 degrees the aggressiveness was noticeable.
Maybe the USAF, USNC, or US Navy flying their drones needs to consider this for Attack UAVs. Maybe in Olympic Boxing, Wrestling, or other aggressive sports we need to turn up the heat to just around uncomfortable temperatures to get the best matches out of the athletes? Does this mean we need to require air-conditioning in cars for the Arizona desert - maybe, that's a thought? For NASCAR races it's been noted that historically there are more crashes when it is hotter, but maybe it's not due to the tires, as much as the human drivers who are behaving extremely aggressively?
If we want happy space colonists in the future, we surely might consider keeping the ambient temperature of the enclosed biosphere at 70-79 degrees for good health and less aggression. If we want peak performance, better health, and a smarter citizenry we should be thinking about all these things not only in the next space colony, but right here on earth in the present period. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.