It is by now well known that political attitudes can be affected by emotions. Most earlier studies have focused on emotions generated by some political event (e.g. terrorism or increased immigration). However, the methods used in previous efforts have made it difficult to untangle the various causal pathways that might link emotions to information processing. In contrast, we focus on emotions incidental (i.e., irrelevant) to the decision process, allowing us to cleanly trace and estimate the effect of experimentally-induced anxiety on political beliefs. Further, we build upon innovative new work that links physiological reactivity (Oxley et al., 2008a; Hatemi et al., ming) to information processing by using skin conductance reactivity as a measure of emotional arousal. We found that anxiety – generated by a video stimulus –significantly affected physiological arousal as measured by tonic skin conductance levels, and that higher physiological reactivity predicted more anti-immigration attitudes. We show that physiological reactivity mediated the relationship between anxiety and political attitudes.
People believe that weather conditions influence their everyday work life, but to date, little is known about how weather affects individual productivity. Most people believe that bad weather conditions reduce productivity. In this research, we predict and find just the opposite. Drawing on cognitive psychology research, we propose that bad weather increases individual productivity by eliminating potential cognitive distractions resulting from good weather. When the weather is bad, individuals may focus more on their work rather than thinking about activities they could engage in outside of work. We tested our hypotheses using both field and lab data. First, we use field data on employees’ productivity from a mid-size bank in Japan, which we then match with daily weather data to investigate the effect of bad weather conditions (in terms of precipitation, visibility, and temperature) on productivity. Second, we use a laboratory experiment to examine the psychological mechanism explaining the relationship between bad weather and increased productivity. Our findings support our proposed model and suggest that worker productivity is higher on bad rather than good weather days. We discuss the implications of our findings for workers and managers.