Rick Larrick
Rick Larrick at the Cardinals Hall of Fame in St. Louis.

Professional baseball pitchers can throw more than one-hundred miles per hour. So when a batter gets hit by a pitch, it hurts.

It’s often not clear if the hit is intentional. But …

Larrick: “There’s a kind of long-standing tradition in baseball that if you hit one of my guys, we need to retaliate and hit one of your guys.”

That’s Rick Larrick of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He studies decision-making, and says hot weather has been linked to more aggressive behavior. He studied baseball statistics and found that pitchers are slightly more likely to retaliate when it’s hot. He speculates it’s because people are already on edge.

Larrick: “Once you are uncomfortable and irritable, you are just more easily agitated, and the same kind of insult or offense seems bigger.”

As the climate warms, he says we should keep in mind how extreme heat may influence our perceptions of everyday behavior, too … like when someone bumps into you outside a bar on a hot night.

Larrick: “If we are concerned that temperatures will be going up on average, it just makes it possible for there to be more of these opportunities for otherwise meaningless provocations becoming meaningful provocations.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

AUTHOR
Sam Harrington is a freelance journalist, writer, and illustrator in Madison, Wisconsin.

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