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Poor Indoor Air Quality Affects Your Strategic Decision-Making

In today's fast-paced world, making strategic decisions is more important than ever. But what if the air you're breathing is making it harder to think clearly?

A new study published in the journal Management Science found that poor indoor air quality can lead to people making more erroneous decisions. The study, which was conducted by researchers at Maastricht University and the Institute of Labor Economics Bonn, used data from official chess tournaments to show that an increase in the indoor concentration of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) by 10 μg/m3 can increase a player's probability of making an erroneous move by 26.3%.

The researchers also found that the effects of poor air quality are amplified when people are under time pressure. This is because poor air quality can make it more difficult to focus and concentrate, which are essential skills for making good decisions under pressure.

The study's findings have important implications for businesses and organizations that employ professionals who make strategic decisions under time pressure. These organizations should ensure that their employees have access to good indoor air quality in order to minimize the risk of poor decision-making.

Here are some of the interesting highlights from the study:

  • The study used data from 30,000 moves made by players in official chess tournaments.

  • The moves were objectively evaluated by a powerful artificial intelligence–based chess engine.

  • The study found that the effects of poor air quality were strongest in the opening and middle stages of the game, when players are under the most time pressure.

  • The authors conducted a number of robustness checks to ensure that their results were not due to chance.

Overall, the study provides strong evidence that poor indoor air quality can have a negative impact on the quality of strategic decision making. This is an important finding for businesses and organisations that employ professionals who make strategic decisions under time pressure.

Here are some tips for improving indoor air quality:

  • Understand the air quality in your home or office - get in touch with our team! (

  • Install air purifiers in your home or office.

  • Keep your windows open when possible.

  • Use plants to help filter the air.

  • Avoid smoking indoors.


  • Künn et al. Indoor Air Quality and Strategic Decision Making. Management Science 2023.

  • Photo credit: Freepik



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