Temperature and Cognitive Performance

Benjamin Krebs

December 2022

I estimate the effect of temperature on cognitive performance in online brain training games. As this setting represents everyday cognitive tasks, the results are indicative of how temperature affects people on a daily basis. With rising average temperatures and more frequent extreme heat, a thorough understanding of this relationship is central. I find that, above a threshold, a 1°C increase in ambient air temperature leads to a performance reduction of 0.13%. The effect is mostly driven by individuals living in relatively cold areas, who are less adapted to hot temperatures.

Keywords: Air temperature, cognitive performance, climate change

JEL codes: Q54, J24