The relation between time and temperature for fermentation
so I've been reading a lot about artisan bread baking and I'm trying to understand as much as I can about fermentation. The conventional wisdom says that when you're letting dough rise, a cooler temperature will slow the fermentation, allowing the yeast to bring out more flavor from the dough. This sounds reasonable at first thought, but when I thought about it some more I became confused with why is it any different than raising the temperature and allowing the yeast to work faster? As long as you haven't killed the yeast it is still converting sugars into CO2 and ethanol, thus doing the same thing regardless of temperature. I'm not convinced that slower time gives the yeast more time to interact because it still rises to the same level as a dough that is sitting in higher temperature, it just does it slowly.
So to make a long story short, "bringing out more flavors" feels far too hand wavy to me. Can someone explain the nitty gritty as to why slower fermentation is better?