Statistician Dr. Matt Briggs: Mooney shows a graph from their paper which is so silly that I refuse to picture it. He presents this graph, as do the authors, as if it were data. Which it is not. It is the output from a preposterously complex regression model (they “control” for 13 things!). Baseball fans: when do more beanballs, and hence more retaliations take place, in chilly April when the season has just begun and all are of good cheer, or late in hot August when tempers are up and when games start to feel a lot more crucial? Is the observed discrepancy therefore caused by climate change? Good grief, what a rotten paper, what a rotten theory.
'For 1 degree Celsius of warming, he'd expect about a 1 percent increase in interpersonal conflicts, a category that includes crimes like assault and robbery but also road rage and fights at baseball games.'
Mooney: 'For instance, one of the studies cited in the new meta-analysis is a 2011 paper published in Psychological Science (discussed in more depth here) showing a relationship between hot temperature days and the number of retaliatory beanballs thrown by Major League Baseball pitchers. The figure below shows their results in more detail:
Credit: Richard Larrick et al, 2011, Temper, temperature, and temptation: Heat-related retaliation in baseball. Psychological Science, 22, 423-428. Reprinted with permission.
The study's lead author Richard Larrick, a professor at Duke's Fuqua School of Business, explained in an e-mail the psychological research linking heat with shows of aggression.