Stressed teen suffering heat stroke on the beach.

Decades of research has shown that times of extreme heat are associated with both civil war and personal violence. Despite this consistent finding, there is controversy about why heat and violence go hand in hand. Is heat causing a cascading series of problems, such as crop failure, leading to civil unrest? Or does heat affect human decision-making directly?

A new study suggests that heat may make some people more aggressive, but only when they are already feeling marginalized. In most cases, however, heat doesn’t directly affect people’s decision-making.

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