Climate change has many widespread and complicated effects on the well-being of people and the planet, and a new study in iScience on June 13 has now added a surprising one to the list, Report informs referring to Neuroscience News.

After analyzing the language used in seven million parliamentary speeches around the world, it shows that high temperatures lead to a significant and immediate reduction in politicians’ language complexity.

The results suggest that rising heat may come with impacts on our cognitive abilities with real and immediate consequences, the researchers say. The study also showcases an innovative use of computational methods, including automated text analysis combined with global meteorological data, to assess the broader impacts of climate change on human health and performance.

“Heat has long been associated with a range of negative health outcomes, including increased risk of decreased productivity and cognitive performance,” says Risto Conte Keivabu of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany.

“Our study highlights that this phenomenon extends to politicians, who are tasked with critical responsibilities.”

“Specifically, we found that higher temperatures lead to a reduction in the complexity of language used in parliamentary speeches across eight different countries,” says Tobias Widmann of the Aarhus University, Denmark.

“This suggests that heat can negatively affect cognitive functions even in professional settings where precise and complex language is crucial.”

Conte Keivabu and Widmann made the discovery by collecting millions of parliamentary speeches. The collection represents more than 28,000 politicians in eight different countries over several decades.

To explore connections between the language in those speeches and precise daily temperature and weather, they used a modeling strategy that leveraged the seemingly random variations in daily temperatures to analyze their impact.

They explain that the approach allowed them to isolate the effect of temperature on the complexity of politicians’ language, yielding results that were surprisingly clear. Their findings show that hot days reduce language complexity. Cold days did not have the same effect. To learn more, they looked more closely at any variable effects in Germany based on age or gender.