P.S. Positivity: On the Weather


By Sara Khan, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The fluctuation in our dispositions is most accurately reflected by various types of weather. From rain to sunshine, a multitude of research studies have explored the effect of this natural phenomenon on our moods both in the short-term and the long-term. In light of the recent snow days and rain from these past few weeks, I thought to myself: what effect does weather have on us, both emotionally and physically?

In a 2013 study by French psychologist Nicolas Guéguen, a man was tasked with approaching young women and asking for their numbers. He achieved an impressive success rate of 22% on sunny days but only 14% when it was cloudy. Another study by Joseph Forgas showed the opposite result. Shoppers exiting a boutique were quizzed about ten unusual objects – including a toy tractor and a pink piggy-bank. The shoppers were able to correctly recall seven times as many objects on cloudy days as opposed to sunny ones (The Conversation).

Depending on the current weather, our behavior can drastically change.

In a paper titled “Clouds make nerds look good”, Uri Simonsohn showed that university admissions officers weighted the academic credentials of applicants more on overcast days, and their non-academic attributes more on sunny ones.

Some psychological illnesses can also be tied to the weather. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a depressive disorder in which episodes of depression are linked to a specific season. Although these episodes occur more commonly in colder months, a small group of people suffers from this disorder in the summer and spring as well (Psych Central).

I personally tend to find myself being rather lazy or unmotivated on overcast or rainy days as opposed to sunnier days. In the winter, particularly, due to the unusually early sunset, I feel a sudden urge to sleep around 5 pm. However, in spite of the colder weather that we have faced over the past few months, there is hope. Weather doesn’t have to completely control our moods. Being headstrong and maintaining a positive attitude regardless of the weather forecast can allow us to do our best each and every day.

Keeping this in mind, I challenge each and every one of you to let the weather have little significance in your life. With an open mind and a welcoming attitude, rain or shine, we can make any day a good day.