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The Relationship between Weather and Mood

Question:

How weather affects the mood.

Not only is weather believed to influence the well-being but also the mood of an individual, for instance, many people seem to express a lot of joy on sunny days as opposed to the dark, cold and rainy days. Despite this type of association being a mere common sense, it is ironical that the relationship between weather and the mood has received less scholarly research (Schuch & Koch, 2015). The study on how weather affects the mood and emotion isn’t simply an area of singular construct, theories, and unique measurement options but an area characterized by vast literature, long history, astounding diversity of general views, and considerable controversy.

In his study, Dunn, (2016) points out that the topic is an enormously challenging undertaking which requires an extraordinarily high level of preparation and critical analysis on the researcher’s part. Being a philosophical question, Lar (2014) asserts that that one has to study and critically make an analysis of a century of research on the phenomena before choosing a measure which would articulately defend his decision. This study, therefore, will try to investigate the degree to which weather affects people’s mood and how, taking individual differences such as gender and age into account. The task mainly identifies the various accredited research which have critically analyzed the connection between the weather and mood.

The weather which people are exposed forms the most crucial characteristics of an individual’s daily environment. The aspects of weather like humidity, temperature, and sunshine can potentially influence people's behaviors; certain effects being transitory, for instance, how weather influences people’s clothing, the mode of transport which they use and the recreational activities they engage. In the recent past, many scholars have published quite a number of research findings showing some unusual relationships between weather conditions and psychological phenomena.

Many scientists in their research have shown that people exhibit altruism on days with high degrees of temperature than on low temperatures; on the other hand, records taken on stock market returns have also been seen to be higher on sunny than rainy weather. Moreover, researchers argue that high heat has a linkage with higher levels of aggressive behavior; weather can influence people's behavior and feelings. The primary objective the study, therefore, is determining whether the impact of weather on people’s mood can be used to draw conclusions about one's whole life, besides, it seeks to find out if life tends to be better when the weather is also good. Moreover, the details of many studies, analyses and reports on the implications for regional and seasonal differences only imply; effects whose interpretations are more difficult. Of course, some of the analyses suggest the existence of the regional and seasonal effects; however, linking them directly to weather as opposed to some other systemized characteristics which might vary according to region or season is still unclear.


To begin with, Klimstra (2012) who conducted the research by approaching 65 students on sunny days asked the participators to fill in a mood measure with a single item; compatible with the predictions, the partakers reported positive and cheery mood on the brighter than on the dark and cloudy days. They argued that weather condition also supplies many metaphors for the humans’ changeable minds and therefore people’s mood can brighten and darken, the most likely contributors to this being the weather conditions. Also, relationships can be stony and futures stormy because, just like the weather, the human emotions sometimes may be likened with forces of nature which are unstable and uncontrollable. They believed that of all the components of weather, sunshine is most intimately connected to mood since it boosts positive feelings, dampening the negative mood and diminishing weariness.

Factors That Influence Mood: Temperature, Sunshine, and Humidity

On the other hand, Koots (2013) by applying the diary method in examining the associations in a sample of seven students whose assessment lasted a period of eleven days. According to their findings, it was clear that mood was higher when barometric pressure was high while the humidity low and the temperature higher. He noted that anything which alters a person’s mood can affect his or her behavior and that people help others a lot when the sun is out. He even went ahead to point out that according to other scholarly work in the USA, Minnesotan diners tip more generously on sunny days and that the very trend is evident in the daily American stock returns. Despite this type of association being a mere common sense, it is ironical that the relationship between weather and the mood has received less scholarly research (Denissel et al., 20o8).

Lucas (2012) looked at the relationship between the mood and weather by use of a sample of twenty four participators assessed over duration of eleven days and in their findings; the correlation between sunshine and anxiety was negative whereas precipitation correlated with anxiety negatively. The temperature was also found to be negatively correlated with anxiety potency but correlated positively with sleep, although, with the scanty set of association; it is hard to draw a clear line about the associations with the weather. However, they also noted that climate influences people’s psychology in subtle ways although the reason it could be the case isn’t entirely apparent. It is probable that the effects of weather on people’s mood are all together psychological, for instance, excess heat causes discomfort and irritability hence aggression. Moreover, exposure of the skin to sunlight produces vitamin D, which in return promotes the production of serotonin in the brain which lifts mood, on exposure to bright lights.

Denissen and Butalid (2013) using a similar design, studied the links among three aspects of weather which included temperature, relative humidity and mood using a sample of thirty participators who were put under monitoring for twenty five days. The authors noted that none of the weather variables could predict mood. It was noted that negative effect was associated positively with temperature and negatively to humidity. The positive effect was also found to be positively correlated to temperature and negatively associated with humidity. Fatigue, on the other hand, was negatively correlated to temperature and light; however, from the study, it was quite clear that the effects were quite small besides; it seemed the scholars never controlled for times of day, which had precise connection with the weather aspects that were included in the model.


On further studies on their legal research, they noted that there existed an association between humidity and the other ratings of mood (Huibers et al., 2011). The interpretation of these results gets hard since the studies have subtle sizes of sample and only provide a little information about the analyses. The most current studies have however applied larger sizes of sample and scheduled lengthened assessment periods, therefore, managing to describe their procedures in detail. Oswald (2013) and Wu (2012) in their studies noted no clear relationship between the mood and weather in samples of students who they monitored for ninety days. They argued that the effects of weather on mood if any would entirely depend on a person’s behavior and on how he or she thinks. We can only feel the impact of weather if we expose ourselves to it. People in industrialized countries for instance only use 7% of their time outside.

Scholarly Research on the Impact of Weather on Mood and Emotion

Kampfer (2013) and Mutz (2014) did a survey with one thousand two hundred participators over a period of two years and found only noted a dismal influence of weather on mood; however, not even a single weather aspect gave an indication of an association with the spirit. Further analyses of their study showed that each weather was unrelated to the adverse effect. However, on entering multiple weather aspects simultaneously, the temperature was found to be positively associated with the unfavorable effect, whereas the amount of sunlight negatively associated with the effect. Simonsoh (2013) made a conclusion that weather effects on people’s mood were relatively small, similarly. On the other hand, Atlanta (2012) after making a critical examination of the connection between the weather and mood using a sample of four hundred adolescents and over a period of 30 days only realized minor connection between the mood and weather. Using absolute values the scholar disregarded the effects to be dismal and instead resorted to focus on differences in individuals.

Recently, Koots (2013) went ahead and used a sampling design which was far different from the basic diary of daily study, which only focused on the moderate mood of a person in the course of the day so that to examine the connection between the mood and weather. The research constituted over a hundred participators whose assessment was done up to seven times a day for a period of fourteen days; the study running on two separate periods, one in the fall and the other in the winter. Van de Vrie (2016) also noted that negative effect was associated positively with temperature and negatively to humidity. The positive effect was also found to be positively correlated to temperature and negatively associated with humidity. Fatigue, on the other hand, was negatively correlated to temperature and light; however, from the study, it was quite clear that the effects were quite small besides; it seemed the scholars never controlled for times of day, which had precise connection with the weather aspects that were included in the model.

Perhaps the one of the studies that has consistently found mood effects is by Oswald (2013) who managed to identify a moderator essential in the weather and mood association. He worked on three studies trying to examine the relationship between the mood and weather and found that despite weather having no major effect on mood; the connection could differ depending on how long people spend time outside the houses on the assessment day (Bullock, Murray, & Meyer, 2017). For those who spent a lot of time outside, pressure and temperature were positively correlated to the mood whereas those who spent little time outside the houses, the reverse were true. Across all these studies, there are several associations between the mood and the weather that have been identified.

Conclusion

Only a few people would argue that the individual report and measures used by various scholars to obtain a clear picture of people’s quality of life. Indeed, vital questions still remain unanswered on the validity and the reliability of these measures since it is unclear whether this form of information thought to be subjective could be useful in drawing conclusions and setting policy. However, in order to improve these measures; determine whether other alternatives should be adopted, it is vital to have a clear understanding of the problems that affect these measures and the extent to which the problems affect reliability and validity. This study examined the issue by testing if the weather changes often influence people's mood; though it is hard to rule out the possibility that the effects of weather affect the mood even though they may not be very detectable.

Moreover, the research discussions have also some implications on the seasonal and regional differences; effects which are hard to interpret. Of course, some of the analyses suggested that the regional and seasonal effects exist; however, it is unclear whether they can be directly associated with weather as opposed to some other systemized features that may as well vary with season and region. Thus, it is necessary that future research focuses further at confounding additional variables in a bid to give vivid analyses and interpretations of these effects. Therefore as introduced earlier in the study, the issue on weather affects the mood and emotion is not simply an area of singular construct, theories, and unique measurement options.  It is true that it is an area characterized by vast literature, long history, astounding diversity of general views, and considerable controversy.

References

Bullock, B., Murray, G., & Meyer, D. (2017). Highs and lows, ups and downs: Meteorology and mood in bipolar disorder. PloS one, 12(3), e0173431.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey data: 2009-2012. Atlanta, GA: Author.

Denissen, J. J., Butalid, L., Penke, L., & Van Aken, M. A. (2008). The effects of weather on daily mood: A multilevel approach. Emotion, 8(5), 662.

Dunn, J. (2015). Bad Moods, Begone!. Health, 29(2), 134-139.

Huibers, M. J., de Graaf, L. E., Peeters, F. P., & Arntz, A. (2010). Does the weather make us sad? Meteorological determinants of mood and depression in the general population. Psychiatry research, 180(2), 143-146.

Kämpfer, S., & Mutz, M. (2013). On the sunny side of life: Sunshine effects on life satisfaction. Social Indicators Research, 110, 579–595.

Klimstra, T. A., Frijns, T., Keijsers, L., Denissen, J. J. A., Raaijmakers, Q. A., van Aken, M. A. G., . . .Meeus, W. H. J. (2012). Come rain or come shine: Individual differences in how weather affects mood. Emotion, 11, 1495–1499. doi:10.1037/a0024649

Kööts, L., Realo, A., & Allik, J. (2013). The influence of the weather on affective experience. Journal of Individual Differences, 32, 74–84. doi:10.1027/1614-0001/a000037

Labar, K. S. (2014). Effects of induced moods on economic choices. Judgment & Decision Making, 9(2), 167-175.

Lucas, R. E., Diener, E., & Larsen, R. J. (2012). Measuring positive emotions. In E.Diener (Ed.), Assessing well-being: The collected works of Ed Diener. Social indicators research series (pp. 139–155). New York, NY: Springer Science + Business Media

Oswald, A. J., & Wu, S. (2013). Objective confirmation of subjective measures of human well-being: Evidence from the U.S.A. Science, 327(5965), 576–579. doi:10.1126/science.1180606

Penke, L., & van Aken, M. (2012). The effects of weather on daily mood: A multilevel approach. Emotion, 8, 662–667. doi:10.1037/a0013497

Schuch, S., & Koch, I. (2015). Mood states influence cognitive control: the case of conflict adaptation. Psychological Research, 79(5), 759-772. doi:10.1007/s00426-014-0602-4

Simonsohn, U. (2013). Weather to go to college. The Economic Journal, 120, 270–280. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0297.2009.02296.x

Van de Vrie, Q. (2016). An analysis of the effects of weather on pro-social behaviour.

Weerth, M. A. (2011). How does a vacation from work affect employee health and well-being?. Psychology & Health, 26(12), 1606-1622. doi:10.1080/08870446.2010.546860

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