Multiple psychological studies which include Schwarz and Clore (1983), Rehdanz and Maddison (2005) and Kampfer and Mutz (2013) show a connection between climate condition and human happiness. People who grow up in mild climates are usually more social, more extroverted, and emotionally more stable than people who grow up and live in regions with extreme temperatures. Psychologists have studied the relationship between air temperature and human happiness, revealing various ways in which temperature can impact people's emotional state and well-being.
Psychologists often explain the intersect between air temperature and human happiness as thermal comfort, which is the state where individuals feel satisfied with their thermal environment. Comfortable temperatures are associated with positive emotions and a sense of well-being, while extreme temperatures, whether too hot or too cold, can lead to discomfort and affect mood. Some individuals experience changes in mood and energy levels with shifts in temperature, particularly in colder, darker months, called seasonal affective disorder. The reduced sunlight and colder temperatures in cold regions; on the other hand, extreme sunlight and heat in hot regions, can lead to symptoms of depression and fatigue.
The moderate temperatures are linked to optimal cognitive performance and productivity. Uncomfortable temperatures can negatively impact concentration and work performance, affecting happiness and satisfaction. Air temperature influences physical comfort, affecting our choices of activities and social interactions. Comfortable temperatures encourage outdoor activities and social engagements, which are often associated with increased happiness. Temperature can also impact sleep quality. Both excessively warm or cold temperatures can disrupt sleep, leading to irritability and reduced happiness due to poor rest.
People’s perception of temperature can also influence their emotional response. For instance, the feeling of warmth or coolness is not just a physical experience but also a mental one, and positive psychological associations with a certain temperature can enhance happiness. Cultural factors and regional acclimatization also play a role in how individuals perceive and respond to temperature, influencing their emotional state. Sometimes, individuals make affective forecasts, predicting their emotional state in certain temperatures. These expectations might influence their experience, impacting their happiness in specific climates.
Understanding the relationship between air temperature and human happiness is vital for greater adoption of climate policies, urban planning and workplace design to mental health and general well-being. While ideal temperature thresholds for happiness may vary among individuals, overall, moderate and comfortable temperatures are often associated with a positive impact on mood and emotional well-being.