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Why Summer Makes Us Lazy Commonlit Answers

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  • 9th Grade
  • Lexile: 1180

Source: Why Summer Makes Us Lazy by Maria Konnikova

Assessment Answers

QuestionAnswer
Which statement best describes a central idea of the passage?Weather changes can impact our productivity in unexpected ways.
How does the author develop her claim in paragraphs 2-3?She cites data from multiple studies to validate her argument.
Which sentence from paragraph 4 best explains the concept of heuristic thinking?“Clore’s team approached a hundred and twenty-two undergraduates on days with either good or bad weather and asked them to participate in a survey on higher education.”
What connection does the author make between mood and heuristic thinking in paragraph 7?A positive mood is associated with less analytical thinking.
Based on the information provided in paragraph 9 what does the Yerkes-Dodson curve measure?the impact of stress levels on productivity

How does the author develop the idea that pleasant weather may be great for our mood, but it is not always best for our analytical thinking and productivity?

The author develops the idea that pleasant weather, while good for mood, can hinder analytical thinking and productivity through several strategies:

1. Contrasting effects:

  • She showcases studies demonstrating how pleasant weather leads to decreased productivity compared to bad weather (e.g., American time use study, Japanese bank worker study).
  • She mentions research on how good mood, often associated with pleasant weather, is linked to heuristic thinking, which prioritizes mental shortcuts over deep analysis.
  • She contrasts the mood-boosting effects of summer with the potential downsides like reduced attention and critical thinking due to heat and humidity.

2. Experimental evidence:

  • The author describes Clore’s experiment where students exposed to pleasant weather images before tasks were less productive. This suggests the mere thought of enjoyable activities can distract from work.
  • She mentions a study where students were more likely to choose a rigorous university on cloudy days, implying a negative mood might encourage deeper analysis.

3. Physiological explanations:

  • The author mentions how high temperatures can reduce our energy levels and impair concentration.
  • She suggests that the link between mood and heuristic thinking might be rooted in how emotions influence cognitive processes.

4. Nuance and limitations:

  • The author acknowledges that the optimal temperature for cognitive function exists (around 81°F), and pleasant weather can be beneficial up to a point.
  • She mentions that not everyone experiences the same effects, and individual preferences and contexts matter.

By combining these strategies, the author paints a nuanced picture where pleasant weather, while uplifting our mood, can also create distractions and hinder our analytical abilities in certain situations.

Discussion Answers

When you hear the word “productivity,” what does it make you think of? Do you think that definitions of productivity are the same around the world? Do you think all cultures value productivity in the same way? How do different cultures link productivity to ideas about why people succeed? Share examples from your life, observations or popular culture to support your argument.

Imagine you’re trying to level up in a video game – gotta collect coins, beat monsters, and gain experience, right? That’s kind of like productivity! It’s about getting things done, being efficient, and achieving your goals.

But here’s the cool part: what counts as “productive” can differ depending on where you are in the world.

Think about it this way: in America, we might see someone working long hours in an office as super productive. But in some cultures, taking breaks to relax with family and friends might be seen as just as important, or even more so! It’s all about what values that culture holds dear.

For example, in Japan, there’s a concept called “wa” which means harmony. So, being productive there might mean working together smoothly as a team, not just about individual achievement. In other cultures, respecting elders and caring for your community might be more important than getting ahead in your career.

Pop culture can show us this too! In movies like “Kung Fu Panda,” the hero learns that true strength comes from inner peace and balance, not just from fighting the most. It’s a different kind of “productive” than winning a trophy, but still important!

So, yeah, productivity isn’t a one-size-fits-all deal. It’s all about understanding the values and goals of different cultures and seeing how they define success in their own unique ways. Pretty cool, huh?


Have there been times when you have prioritized your personal needs over a deadline? Is it acceptable to make leisure a priority, or should we push forward to ensure productivity? Are the ways in which we create happiness and success ever in conflict with each other?

It’s definitely true that sometimes people choose leisure over deadlines. We all need breaks to recharge and avoid burnout, even if it means pushing back a task. It’s like pulling an elastic band too tight – it’ll snap if you don’t let it relax sometimes!

But the answer isn’t always black and white. Whether prioritizing leisure is “acceptable” depends on the situation. Taking a break might be okay if it’s a small task and you have wiggle room. But pushing through might be necessary if it’s a critical project with real consequences.

The key is finding balance. Remember, true happiness and success aren’t just about work or deadlines. They’re also about caring for yourself, having fun, and nurturing your relationships. Think of it like a recipe: too much work and no leisure makes you stressed, but too much leisure and no work can leave you feeling unfulfilled. The right mix is what matters!

Here’s an example: imagine you have a big presentation due tomorrow but feeling super burned out. Taking an hour to go for a walk, listen to music, or hang out with friends might help you return to the presentation with fresh energy and better focus. So, in that case, prioritizing leisure could actually lead to greater productivity in the long run.

Ultimately, the decision of when to prioritize leisure is up to you. Just be honest with yourself about the situation, your needs, and the potential consequences. Remember, a happy and healthy you is a more productive you in the long run!


Maria Konnikova uses her article to make the claim that summer can make us lazy. Do you agree or disagree? In the context of your own life, what role do the seasons play on your mood and productivity? Are there different times of the school year where you feel you work better? Why?

Konnikova argues that summer weather, with its sunshine and warmth, can tempt us to prioritize leisure over work, leading to decreased productivity.

While there’s evidence to support this claim, like studies showing people work longer on rainy days, it’s important to remember that individual experiences can vary greatly.

Here are some factors to consider:

  • Personal preferences: Some people thrive in warm weather, feeling energized and motivated. Others might find the heat draining and prefer cooler temperatures for focus.
  • Work environment: If your job involves physical labor outdoors, hot weather might be challenging. However, the impact might be minimal if you work in an air-conditioned office.
  • Individual goals and priorities: Are you driven by deadlines or personal projects? Are you easily distracted by sunny days, or do you find them inspiring?

Here’s what I can observe about students and seasons:

  • Some students find their energy levels and focus peak in spring, enjoying the longer daylight and warmer weather.
  • Others might be more productive in fall or winter, preferring the coziness and fewer distractions of cooler months.
  • Exam periods and deadlines can create their own “seasons” of intense focus, regardless of the actual weather.

Ultimately, whether summer makes you “lazy” depends on various factors. The key is to know how different conditions affect you and create an environment that fosters your best work, regardless of the season.

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