How abrupt changes in weather affect our psychology


Research on the influence of weather on human psychology was conducted by Humboldt University in Berlin and led by Dr. Jaap Denissen. It was attended by 1,233 participants aged 13 to 68 (average age 28 years) and the majority were women.

Participants first completed a personality test that assessed their levels of extroversion, nervousness, how open they are to new experiences and other similar areas.

Participants were then instructed to fill out an online "diary" daily, answering questions that assessed their fatigue and positive or negative mood. So the researchers were able to cross-examine the changes in psychology with the corresponding changes in the weather.

What they found confirms that weather affects human psychology in a certain way.

What the research showed

  • Temperature, wind and sunlight were found to affect the negative mood. Sunlight seemed to play a role in how tired the participants were.
  • The wind had a more negative effect on mood during the spring and summer than in the fall and winter.
  • The increased sunshine was found to reduce how tired participants were compared to their responses on rainy days.
  • As the days go by, some people's moods change a little for the worse, while others say that this change has made them feel more positive.
  • However, the researchers noted that these changes in psychology due to changes in the weather were real, but not as intense as they might have been before the study.

And they added that those who are in a bad mood but live worse when the day is short, may be at greater risk for seasonal affective disorder.

The research was published in the scientific journal Emotion.


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