This month’s issue of The New Yorker has a short article on the influence of weather on mood, specifically focusing on whether or not summer actually does make us lazier. There is a surprising amount of evidence that warm, sunny weather actually does make our brains slow down. We’re more apt to just go with the flow, and we feel happier. Here is a sampling of some of the research they cited:
A 2008 study found that men spent an average of thirty extra minutes at work on rainy days than they did on sunny days.
A study at Harvard asked participants to describe daily activities. One group of participants was shown pictures of outdoor activities in sunny weather, while the other group was not. The group that did not see the pictures described their activities in more detail, while the group that was shown the pictures were more distracted and spoke more about what they would rather be doing.
A 1994 study found that students were more able to think critically when the weather was cold and rainy. During warm and sunny weather, students were less likely to be able to discern a good argument from a weak one.
A similar study found that participants were less likely to question demands that were made of them when the weather was warm as opposed to when it was cold.
Do you notice the effect of weather on your mood? Does summertime tend to make you slow down a bit more?