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Could it be that auction bidders bid more aggressively when somewhat uncomfortable? We suggested in 2012 that the live auction business benefits from exactly that environment — noisy, pressured, somewhat chaotic.

Our analysis is here, contrasting live auctions with online auctions: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/auction-atmospheres/. We posed the question: “Should the atmosphere drive the bidding method, or should the bidding method drive the atmosphere?”

Here in 2019 Jayati Sinha and Rajesh Bagchi published a study which concluded that auction competitive bidding is enhanced in warm (hot) — and otherwise uncomfortable — environments. A summary of their study is here: https://www.ama.org/2019/06/19/auction-buyers-pay-more-when-bidding-in-warm-rooms/.

Sinah and Bagchi’s study suggests warm temperatures of 77º to 82º (Fahrenheit) enhance bidding in a competitive environment and temperatures as low as 63º would be more appropriate for private negotiation scenarios or retail purchasing.

Numerous studies over the years suggest higher temperatures make it harder to think fast and clearly as contrasted with lower temperatures. We have held auctions rely — in part — on creating an environment of “mindless compliance:” https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2010/01/15/why-do-auctioneers-talk-fast/.

While any environment extremely uncomfortable probably suppresses participation and bidding — it appears otherwise the evidence is clear: auctioneers trying to make the bidding environment more comfortable may cause bidders to bid less; auctioneers making the bidding environment a bit warmer and more uncomfortable may enhance bidding.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and America’s Auction Academy. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by the The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.