Heat can lead to violence, Nacogdoches psychologist says

Dr. Jeremy Heider
Dr. Jeremy Heider

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Jena Johnson - email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Four deadly shootings in just three weeks.

A wave of shocking crimes leaves many in East Texas concerned for their safety.

While victims' families search for answers, psychologists are looking to the sun.

"There's clear research evidence that heat is correlated with aggressive behavior," psychologist Dr. Jeremy Heider said.

Heider studies the relationship between the heat and violent acts of crime in the last 10 years.

From verbal abuse to murder, he says the scorching temperatures can trigger aggressive behavior.

"Anything that makes us uncomfortable makes us more likely to lash out," Heider said. "So, we don't like heat."

A closer look at the FBI's uniform crime reports over a 10-year period revealed violent crimes were considerably higher during the summer months.

"A day that's 110 heat index is more likely to yield some acts of violence than a day where perhaps it's only in the 90s," Heider said.

Heider is quick to point out that while heat may be a factor in violent behavior, that's all it is: one factor.

"We're probably talking about a set of factors that co-conspired to lead to that sort of act," Heider said. "So, not only heat, but heat perhaps in connection with something else."

That missing element is what investigators and families are searching for in these deadly shootings.

Heider hopes we learn that our surroundings can have a huge influence over choices that affect the rest of our lives.

"Thinking about it for a moment can often put you in a position where you can sort of take a step back," Heider said.

One moment that could have prevented any of the deadly outcomes.

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