Claim: climate effects violence

From the “murder rate must be highest near the equator” department comes this odd piece of research

Researchers offer new theory on how climate affects violence 
Climate impacts life strategies, time orientation, self-control

OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Researchers have long struggled to explain why some violent crime rates are higher near the equator than other parts of the world. Now, a team of researchers have developed a model that could help explain why.

This new model goes beyond the simple fact that hotter temperatures seem to be linked to more aggressive behavior.

The researchers believe that hot climates and less variation in seasonal temperatures leads to a faster life strategy, less focus on the future, and less self-control – all of which contribute to more aggression and violence.

“Climate shapes how people live, it affects the culture in ways that we don’t think about in our daily lives,” said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University.

Paul van Lange, lead author of the study and a professor of psychology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) added, “We believe our model can help explain the impact of climate on rates of violence in different parts of the world.”

The researchers, which included Maria I. Rinderu of VU, call the new model CLASH (CLimate Aggression, and Self-control in Humans). They describe the CLASH model in an online article in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Many studies have shown that levels of violence and aggression are higher in hot climates, according to the researchers.

“But the two leading explanations of why that is so aren’t satisfactory”, Bushman said.

The General Aggression Model (which Bushman helped develop) suggests hot temperatures make people uncomfortable and irritated, which makes them more aggressive. “But that doesn’t explain more extreme acts, such as murder”, he said.

Another explanation (Routine Activity Theory) is that people are outdoors and interacting more with others when the weather is warm, which leads to more opportunities for conflict. But that doesn’t explain why there’s more violence when the temperature is 95 degrees F (35 °C) than when it is 75 degrees F (24 °C) – 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”, Rinderu said.

That means there is less need to plan for large swings between warm and cold weather. The result is a faster life strategy that isn’t as concerned about the future and leads to less need for self-control.

“Strong seasonal variation in temperature affects culture in powerful ways. Planning in agriculture, hoarding, or simply preparing for cold winters shapes the culture in many ways, often with people not even noticing it. But it does shape how much a culture values time and self-control,” Van Lange said.

“If there is less variation, you’re freer to do what you want now, because you’re not preparing foods or chopping firewood or making winter clothes to get you through the winter. You also may be more concerned with the immediate stress that comes along with parasites and other risks of hot climates, such as venomous animals.”

People living in these climates are oriented to the present rather than the future and have a fast life strategy – they do things now.

“We see evidence of a faster life strategy in hotter climates with less temperature variation – they are less strict about time, they have less use of birth control, they have children earlier and more often,” Bushman said.

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 theory is not deterministic and isn’t meant to suggest that people in hotter, consistent climates can’t help themselves when it comes to violence and aggression.

“How people approach life is a part of culture and culture is strongly affected by climate,” Van Lange said. “Climate doesn’t make a person, but it is one part of what influences each of us. We believe it shapes the culture in important ways,” he said.

Since CLASH is a new theory, studies have to be done to prove it is correct. But Bushman said a lot of evidence already suggests that the theory may be on to something.

“We believe CLASH can help account for differences in aggression and violence both within and between countries around the world,” he said. “We think it provides a strong framework for understanding the violence differences we see around the world.”

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104 thoughts on “Claim: climate effects violence

  1. This is simply absurd. It is scientific fact (or at least consensus) that temperature change is anthropogenic.

    They have confused cause and effect. Violence affects climate.

    • Not so Grasshopper…
      Just look at the 350dotORG and 1010 videos.
      Climate Change Faithful certainly do seem to endorse violence as a means to an end

      • The reason Climate Change Faithful are violent is to create anthropogenic warming that will falsely be attributed to GHG.

        This is yet another anthropogenic influence, like UHI, that creates warming that the Climate Faithful eagerly but falsely attribute to GHG.

        The Climate Faithful are scared silly of honest attribution studies that split GHG forcing from the arguably larger other sources of man-made and natural forcing.

    • Think about it people…..you’re out there with your pointy umbrella, swinging that corn-cutter, and your neighbor is out there lighting-up his dozen citronella Tiki-torches, and it is affecting you to effect some population-reduction manouveurs post-haste. There ya go.

  2. And now for the double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial of a statistically significant sample size that psychology is famous for.

    • The problem with double-blind studies is the scientists trip over equipment in the lab and write down data on the wrong clipboard.

  3. “…The General Aggression Model (which Bushman helped develop) suggests hot temperatures make people uncomfortable and irritated, which makes them more aggressive…”

    If the temperature is hot enough to be uncomfortable, it’s draining. I suggest “more aggressive” is garbage.

      • The human race was generically altered from primitive earth species by Ancient Aliens, the lazy Annunaki ,who needed goons to mine the gold their planet needed to restore their polluted atmosphere.

      • Funny you choose “Bigfoot” in your nickname. I’ve seen the guy you’re paraphrasing just can’t come up with the name. I think he’s whacked but he’s very entertaining.

    • The solution suggested by that model is simple: allow development of cheap energy so that those living in the tropics have access to air conditioning. Now only will they be less irritable, they will all stay inside their houses, so there will be less opportunities for violence!

      In all seriousness, I do not even want to move when it is really hot. Seems like violence would require too much effort no matter how cranky one feels.

    • lenbilen,

      That’s because the weather is so “extreme” in higher latitudes that we don’t go outside much, if ever. That makes finding strangers to kill difficult, so we have to make due with killing people who are inside…and if that urge/lack of self control hits you and you’re the only person at home at the time….well….there ya go.
      (snark)

      • lenbilen,
        My theory is supported by the fact that we keep our house at almost exactly the same temperature year round, and that climate controlled lack of variability, inherent in our culture, causes us to become irritated and violent. Just ask CLASH (more snark) Climate Lunacy And Scientific Hokum

      • The corollary to that is that when you go outside in the northern climes, everyone is so bundled up that
        knives and bullets have a hard time penetrating the layers. You don’t hear much about Eskimos killing each other, do you? I rest my case.

      • When you go at 65N, suicides become too common. Though there are cultural reasons in addition to alcohol abuse and sunlight dosage.

    • I live at a mid latitude. I’ve had as much as I can take and I’m gonna go bump somebody off! But first I’m doing myself in! I’m closer!

  4. “Since CLASH is a new theory, studies have to be done to prove it is correct.” Pardon me, but if I hear that crud once more that perverts the nature of science, I am going to scream. You never, ever, ever prove a theory correct. All you ever do is to reject a null hypothesis with a degree of statistical significance. Properly done, on a theory that has merit, you can reject the hypothesis that the theory has made a bad prediction with a great deal of certainty. The best experiments are the ones that show where a theory comes up short by not predicting the outcome. Those are the times that we advance science. The orbit of Mercury did things that Newton’s “Laws” did not predict. The result was Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. We learned something. Too many blinking experiments are designed to “prove” something. The ones that have merit are the ones that are designed to “break” something. Gad, preserve me from these cretins who know not of what science is.

  5. I am sure that all the Canadians (about 1 million of them) who travel south each year to escape the cold to move to warmer climates, cause huge crime waves in Florida, Arizona, Texas, and California. FFS climate alarmists, grow a brain.

      • Perhaps I do misunderstand the paper’s hypothesis, but since the climate alarmists love to exaggerate, then I feel that they should drink of their own medicine:
        “We believe CLASH can help account for differences in aggression and violence both within and between countries around the world,” he said. “We think it provides a strong framework for understanding the violence differences we see around the world.”
        CLASH = CLimate Aggression, and Self-control in Humans

      • I think an IQ distribution study across hot, temperate and colder climates might also provide “a strong framework for understanding”

      • That is correct.
        The Paper’s hypothesis is so misunderstandable.
        Here it is in a nutshell: affects effect death.

    • “I am sure that all the Canadians (about 1 million of them) who travel south each year to escape the cold to move to warmer climates, cause huge crime waves”

      Putting a comma after a subject clause is a clear incitement to violence regardless of the climate, and it would be thoroughly justified violence.

  6. International crime statistics are legendarily difficult to compare across jurisdictions. I have serious doubts about the generality of this theory, as Russia, with a much more severe climate than the US, has a much higher homicide rate. While some tropical countries have high violent crime rates, the countries are inhabited by people of a different culture. Australia, culturally dominated by Brits and Irish, but tropical to semi-tropical, has violent crime rates similar to Britain or Ireland.

    • Blame it on vodka.

      Also, blame the “Chernobyl catastrophe” on vodka, ’cause this is what happened (belief that alcool cures radiations, or something).

      • simple-touriste- Maybe if you are drinking vodka and are half drunk most of the time you don’t think clearly enough to notice in time that a stupidly dangerous reactor experiment is starting to to go wrong. Russia in particular and some of the other slavic countries are notorious for heavy drinking all day, all the time.

      • It had nothing to do with the idea that “vodka” cures radiation poisoning! Where did you even hear that? (or were you being sarcastic?)

        Chernobyl was a disaster because the reactor exploded at 1:30 am on April 26th, and the freaking reactor crew chief didn’t even know, or report that the core itself had blown despite the reactor fuel and chunks of burning graphite laying on the ground all over the place. Dosimeters reported high levels of radiation, but they assumed they were broken, so he and his crew, without protective gear on, tried to pump water over the core until morning. Government leaders (and other rescue workers) were not aware of, the danger of the situation, and officials didn’t even order the nearby town of Pripyat to be evacuated until the morning of the 27th. The first buses arrived at Pripyat at 11:00 am, but didn’t even leave the area until 2:00 pm. They told people they could come back home in 3 days. They were not allowed to return at all.

        Chernobyl was a horrific and completely avoidable accident that had nothing to do with alcohol.

      • “It had nothing to do with the idea that “vodka” cures radiation poisoning! Where did you even hear that?”

        I think it’s Harrison Ford who says that in “K-19”. Look it up, it’s a thing.

        “Chernobyl was a horrific and completely avoidable accident that had nothing to do with alcohol”

        The accident is one thing, the health problems of a population is another.

        Of course, lack of sea food in Russia was a major issue.

      • I’d expect an r² of about 0.50 for that hypothesis, but we’d have to see if greed doesn’t explain more of the variation with an r² of about 0.90.

      • We just need a fair redistribution of IQ, obviously they are unfairly lacking in the same.

  7. The average intelligence of a population varies directly with distance from the equator, and so does the robustness of its social institutions. Violence is inversely related to intelligence. (The more intelligent a person, the more likely he is to anticipate and avoid the negative consequences of violence.) Climate has nothing to do with it.

    • “The average intelligence of a population varies directly with distance from the equator” LOL
      Maybe you forgot the /sarc tag, but if you believe that, it would be a bad idea for you to go and live in a tropical country. The locals would get your number very quickly.
      The ” hot temperatures make people uncomfortable and irritated, which makes them more aggressive” is not a new theory. It is a very old prejudice maintained by some temperate dwellers.

      • You seem to misunderstand the meaning of the sentence that you quote. It’s a well-known fact that average intelligence rises with distance from the equator, which is the same thing as saying that the average intelligence of a population varies directly with distance from the equator. (As an Ozzie, you probably believe that you’re smarter than the average sub-Saharan African. And you’re right.) You also seem to have missed the connection between that statement and the on that follows it. I was, in fact, pooh-poohing the thesis that hot temperatures make people uncomfortable and irritated, and thus more aggressive. You really ought to read more carefully before you comment.

    • Thomas,
      https://iq-research.info/en/page/average-iq-by-country

      Of course the fact that “average” intelligence appears to correlate with distance from the equator does not create a cause and effect determination. Looking at the map, there are countries equidistant from the equator that have different average IQ’s.

      South America is home to some of the highest murder rates in the world, but the average IQ of the people living there is higher than the average Sub-Saharan person, so your postulation that people with higher IQ’s are more likely to anticipate and avoid the negative consequences of violence seems to be flimsy at best. Some of the most violent serial killers in history had higher than average IQ’s….which probably allowed them to anticipate and avoid the negative consequences of their own violence for as long as they did….but it certainly didn’t preclude them BEING violent.

      I wouldn’t say with determination that “violence is inversely related to IQ” either. Most handicapped people, or people with the lowest IQ’s are not violent. So its only related to a certain point.

      http://paulcooijmans.com/intelligence/iq_ranges.html

      As per his 80-89 IQ point range-

      This is also the I.Q. range most associated with violence. Most violent crime is committed by males from this range. This does not imply that all males in this range are violent, nor that all violent males are in this range. But when the modal I.Q. of a group is in this range, one may expect trouble with with many male members of that group. When the modal I.Q. of a society or population is raised upward of this range, violence decreases as fewer males fall in this range then, given the shape of an even remotely normal distribution. When the modal I.Q. of a society is below this range to begin with though, raising it may increase violence. The causal mechanism behind the (statistical) relation between crime and below-average I.Q. is likely that lower I.Q. levels inherently tend to go with having less impulse control, being less able to delay gratification, being less able to comprehend moral principles like the Golden Rule, and being overstrained by the cognitive demands of society.

      And, this is the range into which men of average or just above average intelligence sink when under the influence of alcohol; alcohol reduces I.Q. by up to about 25 points while drunk (own data), which explains why many drunk men are violent and aggressive (own hypothesis).”

      And more on alcohol’s effect on the brain.

      http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa63/aa63.htm

  8. Murder rate.

    You can basically make any point you want depending on how you screen the data with that sort of distribution..

    The claim appears to be based on Columbia and Venezuela. And Columbia and Venezuela have violence for reasons other than temperature.

    • You have one crime rate per country, one for Ecuador and one for Russia, lol.

      Someone has the map of the crime rates in different oblasts?

      • your opening line explained it

        I love how benign the middle east looks, they clearly have no color for “we have no idea”

      • Re: yarpos:

        All such maps/charts should have a category for no/insufficient data. Differing cultures and accepted norms probably have more of an effect on levels of violence, even within countries. Example that will get me into trouble: if murders by African-Americans are excluded, the US has a murder rate comparable to most European countries. This is not to suggest that race is the major factor in itself. It is more likely that the elevated rates are affected by the large proportion of AAs living in urban areas, high levels of gang membership, lack of involved fathers, and accompanying attitudes that “street cred” requires a willingness to act violently.

        I bet there is a correlation between unsolved murders/murders without a conviction and a country’s murder rate. Lack of consequences tends to increase bad behavior. Any parent with a scintilla of awareness can confirm this.

    • There is hope yet for the North-South wealth transfer scheme at the UN. It got relabeled climate change agreement along the way but it would make a nice sweetener to the funding scheme.

    • It is about 75 miles (3 day walk) from Cameroon to the DRC, from one of the best to one of the worst. And Cameroon is closer to the equator.

    • Yeah, just eyeballing it, I suspect the correlation between murder rate, ave. temp. and seasonal variability, isn’t going to be significantly different than random chance.

      Sheesh, if you’re going to try and explain X, first be sure X is true!

      • “Sheesh, if you’re going to try and explain X, first be sure X is true!”

        It’s a slippery slope.

        When you start checking stuff before publication, you enter the danger zone. First you check assertions, then way? You don’t spout nonsense 24/24 and 365/365?

        Where does it end?

  9. “Since CLASH is a new theory, studies have to be done to prove it is correct.”

    You mean they’ve made up their minds already? Am I being too pedantic with this?

      • Me too. It used to be that studies were done to find out if a theory was sound. Now they already believe it is and just look for what backs it up, not for anything that might tear it down. That’s the problem.

  10. “From the “murder rate must be highest near the equator” department comes this odd piece of research”

    For an instant I thought it was from the Monty-Pythons-infiltrated-in-academia department.

    “The General Aggression Model (which Bushman helped develop) suggests hot temperatures make people uncomfortable and irritated”

    So much anger in everyday life in Japan, compared to France. Not.

    You couldn’t make that up!!!

  11. Brilliant!

    This explains why the Vikings, Germans, Russians and Mongols were so peaceful.

    Climate science is amazing. It is rapidly replacing physics as the foundation science.and approaching the status of a theory of everything.

    • Were the Vikings undisciplined, and willing to solve minor car incidents with a machette?

      The French people in some sunny and hot territories certainly are. Maybe this is correlated with receiving a lot of France’s money.

    • You just don’t understand. They were so in tune with the climate any move towards the equator made them hot and aggressive. Their home life was peaceful and calm. This can be seen most clearly in the Norse mythology.

      • Kyle I think it’s different….they were just so busy chopping wood, preserving food, and making winter clothes when they were in Norse country that they were exhausted and thus-had more self control.

        When they went on “vacations” to lower latitude areas, there was nothing to do, they were less “time oriented” and lived in the “now”-so they had the time to do what they wanted to do-slaughter the locals! :-)

  12. Are there any other blindingly obvious “high correlations” among the “equatorial regions” in which high murder rates occur besides warmer, less varying temperatures? Why yes! POVERTY…..less economic development, lower education rates, living hand to mouth…(which apparently has now become “consistency to/of daily life”.)

    This part made me laugh out loud-
    “If there is less variation, you’re freer to do what you want now, because you’re not preparing foods or chopping firewood or making winter clothes to get you through the winter. ”

    Yes, the reason fewer people get killed in Chicago and Washington DC per capita as opposed to Caracas Venezuela (murder capital of the world) is because the people living in the major US cities are busy chopping firewood, canning the food grown in the family gardens, and making winter clothes to get them through the winter. *eye roll*

    If us Northerners just had less temperature variation and were “freer to do what we want now” we’d be killing people, because that’s obviously what everyone would do if they had more “free” time and the weather didn’t change much….my lord…

    From personal experience….people developing idiotic theories like CLASH make me react with much more aggression and violence….

  13. ‘Nother one of those racist studies aimed at cultures surrounding the equator, complete with code words. (co-authored by a professor BUSHMAN?!) Shameful…

  14. Kyle danielson says: June 24, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    … Their home life was peaceful and calm. This can be seen most clearly in the Norse mythology.

    You’re right. The general rule was peace within the family. Between families, on the other hand, you could have horrible feuds, which then became the subject of sagas.

    It’s interesting to compare male-female relationships in the sagas vs. those in Middle English writing. As an examplar of sagas, I would choose Nj%C3%A1ls_saga. For Middle English, I would choose Le Morte d’Arthur. I would say that the sagas show women with much greater equality and autonomy. At the same time, I would say that ‘cheating’ wasn’t much of a feature in the sagas. In ME literature, ‘cheating’ was the basis of many of the stories. eg. Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere, La Beale Isoud and Sir Tristram

  15. The FBI has stated in their annual Uniform Crime Report that there is a high correlation between drinking alcohol and violent behavior. Guess what? When people living in apartments or government housing, with inadequate air conditioning, experience hot weather they are inclined to have a cold beer and go out on the street where there might be a slight breeze. After several beers, their judgment and social inhibitions may be reduced enough to do things they usually wouldn’t. So, the correlation with hot temperatures is spurious. The real causative factor is consumption of more alcohol than usual when it is hot. And then there are cultures where it is just part of the way of life to drink a lot of vodka. That might go a long way towards explaining the high homicide rates.

  16. As noted by others above,I did not know Chicago was on the equator.
    I guess Climate Science has freed the world from the limitations of the scientific method.
    Propose required conclusion, create data and imagine boundaries as being where ever you need them.
    so where does the new equator lie?
    Through the Red Sea??

    • But Chicago’s homicide rate does increase with hot weather. Which I think lines up more with people being out doing more alcohol and drugs and believing the BS stories they tell each other, as per a previous post.

  17. This would make a great pretext for adding all SUV owners to the FBI no-fly list. Add it to the list of demands for the next sit in at Congress.

    • Or because no non-elite has had regular access to toilet paper for the last few years. (Insert your own joke about regularity and TP.)

      Even a pacifistic Quaker would start throwing elbows.

  18. Apparently it also affects whether University research professors can discern whether a research proposal is not a valid proposition. What a waste of time and money.

  19. The answer is clear: tropical ninjas. The video explains it all, in complete agreement with the study.

    Seriously, I didn’t make this video.

  20. Oh so it was climate that caused Woody Hays to slug an opposing college football player on national TV. Now I understand it. That excuses everything. Oh and OSU is off the college search list.

  21. What a load of rubbish. There’s a lot more going on in those areas…drugs, gangs, terrorism, religious sects, dictators, etc. Another case of leaving out a lot of other variables.

  22. There is a very slight correlation.

    And I think it is probably due to the fact that the ‘warmer’ parts of the world are the places where civilisations first emerged, and city-states became established. Consequently, these are places where people lived closer together (enabling local conflict) and where legislation first developed (defining murder and allowing it to be tracked and documented).

    My hypothesis suffers two apparent disproofs – China and Syria are both shown as having low murder rates. I suspect that both of these are artefacts of poor reporting – it would be nice to do further research in this area.

    Can I have a grant?

  23. If this is true, the made up realm of increasing extreme weather/climate from humans emitting CO2 (that is not happening except for heavier rains-some of which are natural) should be seen as also having a made up benefit ( benefits from increasing CO2 actually don’t have to be made up). Good news……………it should help reduce violence.

    But then, that can’t be possible. Human caused climate change only causes bad things to happen.

    Life didn’t really do better in the past when it was warmer…………it thrived during Ice Ages(-:

    Excessive heat and excessive eating(of abundant plants from high CO2) is what really killed the dinosaurs (-:

    Plants don’t really do better with higher CO2. Greenhouses just pretend they use carbon dioxide enrichment generators in order to dial that into their cost, so that they can charge us a higher price for the plants they grow (-:

    Obviously absurd, silly statements but some of the stuff we get about climate science/change today makes almost as much sense.

  24. From my simple observations throughout life I would say there is more violence in the animal kingdom in hotter climate that in cooler climates. That said, you cannot make the connection to climate change as that is a separate issue where cause and effect has yet to be reasonably established.
    Come on, every kid knows that is you play piñata with a football of hornets at 60 degrees F the outcome will be different than the same game at 90 degrees F. Most of the plants and animals have better defenses in higher temperature climates than lower temperature climates.

  25. But…but…I thought it was only the lack of “gun control” that effects violence?
    Maybe this study is more about the lack of cheap energy to run AC in some of the warmer climes?

    Why do people do all these studies to link and blame the manifestation of the potential for evil inherent in Man to promote their preferred “cause” or ideology?

  26. Abortion rites? Planned Parenthood?

    They don’t really believe in the fantasy of spontaneous conception, do they?

    I wonder if other societies pull their religious/moral philosophy out of the penumbra or twilight zone.

  27. Planned Parenthood?

    They don’t really believe and find comfort in the fantasy of spontaneous conception, do they?

    I wonder if other societies pull their religious/moral philosophy out of the penumbra/twilight zone.

  28. The circle of global warming violence.

    Warmer climate = progressive comfort = progressive activism = progressive violence.

  29. TL;DR
    When temperature is above your comfort threshold you CAN’T work efficiently, because effort->heat, hence lower murder rate.
    When temperature is under your comfort threshold, work will bring you back to your comfort zone. You will also need MORE energy. So low temp->higher murder rate?

  30. I’ll lean towards cultural explanations.
    Most equatorial countries were colonized by Spain.

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