Weather and Mood Essay

Name: Elmeera Bezheh
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Swinburne University of Technology
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Weather and Mood
For a long period of time, people have used their experience to come
to the conclusion that meteorological factors are connected with different
human behaviors and emotions like mood (Park et al, 2013). For instance,
there are those who believe that rainy days affect them emotionally while
there are those who are cheered up by warm weather. However, beyond
personal experiences, studies have established a link between weather and
mood, though this has been done on a relatively small scale. With the
increased availability of large scale data about the thoughts and emotions
of people, it has become possible to have an accurate assessment of the
effect that weather has on people’s mood. Due to the focus on the
importance of mental health today, research on the relationship between
mood and weather will have major practical applications (Park et al, 2013).

This paper analyzes the relationship between weather and mood.

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Mood describes an emotional state, positive or negative, which
changes in responses to the circumstances one faces in life at a particular
point in time. According to Russell (2003), moods are always
undifferentiated. In addition, they are slower to change. They are also
objectless in the sense that people might not understand the cause of the
mood. For instance, one could feel down or sad and this could go for days
or moths when it comes to depression and he or she might not understand the
cause. The perfect way to contemplate about mood measures is to understand
the areas they are capturing. There are questionnaires which target
particular areas like depression and vitality. There are also those that
target the wider aspects of positive and negative effect. It is a common
and prevalent notion that individuals are more depressed during bad
weather. Despite this, Huifers et al (2010) noted that there are limited
studies to establish whether meteorological factors like sunshine can in
essence account for differences and changes in moods.

The weak but important connection that exists between weather and
mood is among the most debated topics. Though the statement appears
intuitively clear, experimental confirmation of this connection has not
been easy. Studies h on the different impacts of weather on mood are
relatively low in terms of numbers. According to Scott (2007), these
studies are not easy to interpret. They are also affected by different
variables and mixed results. The majority focus on the connection between
weather and mood. A study seeking to establish the relationship between
weather and mood was conducted by Persinger (1975). The results showed that
lower moods are linked to fewer sunshine hours. These moods are also
connected to higher relative humidity. The main point was that mood reports
could portray weak response to weather fluctuation.

In a separate study comparing mental process and cold weather, Palinkas
(2001) established that low temperatures have an effect on attention span,
memory, and different cognitive processes. There is proof of a dose-
response connection entailing a reduction in cognitive performance in
regard to reduction in body temperature. Despite this, it is not clear
whether these effects are as a result of distraction or they are caused by
increased anxiety. Other studies seek to link perception of weather to the
areas where people live and their individual attributes. In the same vein,
Scott (2007) noted that those who are relocated are vulnerable to
fluctuations in mood caused by novel weather conditions.

In yet another study, it was established that individual differences
could have an impact on how people see the weather (Denissen et al, 2008).

They reiterate the fact that there have been no studies on variations in
sensitivity to weather in the past. However, other studies propose a
connection between seasonality on one hand and personality on the other,
particularly regarding neuroticism as an attribute. Denissen et al (2008)
employed the Big Five Inventory Test so as to establish whether the weather
impacts differently people individuals with different personality traits.

The test focused on extraversion, agreeableness, and openness. There was
also focus on conscientiousness and neuroticism. They analyzed the impacts
of different weather parameters including temperature, air pressure, and
rainfall and wind power on mood. The major impacts of sunshine,
temperature, and wind on negative affect were revealed. In this regard, it
became clear that the sunshine has a major impact on tiredness. As far as
Denissen et al (2008) are concerned, the average impact of weather on mood
is not that big. However, there is a significant random variation among
different people, particularly the impact of photoperiod. Moreover, there
is no evidence suggesting that the personal variations in weather
sensitivity might be justified by the Five Factor Model individual traits.

In general, a number of findings are opposed to the connection
between weather and mood despite establishing some major coefficients. On
the same note, calls made to telephone counseling services were analyzed
(Driscoll ; Stillman, 2002). The services served different communities in a
major US metropolitan area. Investigations were done on connections with
derived weather types for all areas and with individual weather elements
including temperature change, rainfall and wind power. They came to the
realization that the statistically significant results notwithstanding, the
total number fell within that anticipated by chance. In addition, it was
established that there was little when it came to consistency with these
connections. A major exception is an escalation in call frequency in the
course of severe weather (Driscoll ; Stillman, 2002).

In another study that was carried out by Huifers et al (2010), it
became apparent that the prevalence of major depression and sadness
demonstrated seasonal variation. There were peaks during the summer. The
same also witnessed during fall. There was no connection between weather
conditions and mood. In addition, weather conditions never explained the
established seasonal variation. They came to the conclusion that as opposed
to the popular belief, there appears to be no connection between weather
conditions, depression or even sadness. On the other hand, the impact of
temperature on wind power on mood and condition was investigated (Keller et
al, 2005). The results noted that there was not the consistent major impact
of weather on mood. This is despite the fact that pleasant weather was
connected with higher mood and improved memory. In the same vein, it became
clear that during hot summer days, spending more time outside was linked to
deteriorated mood. These outcomes are in tandem with results on seasonal
affective disorders. They submit that pleasant weather enhances mood and
bolsters cognition during spring. This is attributed to the fact that
people have been denied such weather in the course of winter (Keller et al,
2005). The contradictions in the outcomes of the above-mentioned studies
demonstrate that the issue requires further consideration. Moods have an
impact on working ability, attention and tone. In other words, moods can
affect different areas of economic life including healthcare. The
relationship that exists between psychology and weather has a future not
just in theoretical aspect but from a practical context as well.

In conclusion, it is clear that there is a relationship between
weather and mood. The results obtained from the above studies demonstrated
that the various elements of weather result in mood changes. This shows a
positive or negative character of the person. The rapid weather changes on
the basis of expectations have adverse effects on human moods. It must be
emphasized that there is a complex relationship between weather and mood
given that it relies on individual attributes of people. Those who are
stable emotionally are believed to be more resistant to the impact of
weather on their moods. On the contrary, those are emotionally unstable
largely depend on the effects of weather. There is a need for further
research to validate these views. Such research could employ daily measures
of welfare as outcomes.

Denissen, J., Butalid, L., ; Penke, L. (2008). The effects of weather on
daily mood: A multilevel approach, Emotion, 8, 662-667.

Driscoll, D., ; Stillman, D. (2002). Weather and emotional state: a search
for associations between weather and calls to telephone counseling
services. Int. J. Biometeorol., 47, 21-34.

Huifers, M., de Graaf, E., ; Peeters, F. (2010). Does the weather make us
sad? Meteorological determinants of mood and depression in the general
population. Psychiatry Res., 180(2-3), 143-6
Keller, M., Fredrickson, B., ; Ybarra, O. (2005). A warm heart and a clear
head: The contingent effects of weather on mood and cognition.

Psychol. Sci., 16, 724-731.

Palinkas, L. (2001). Mental and cognitive performance in the cold. Int. J.

Cireumpolar Health, 60, 430-439.

Park, K., Lee, S., Kim, E., Park, M., Park, J., ; Cha, M. (2013). Mood and
weather: Feeling the heat? Proceedings of the Seventh International
AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, 709-712.

Persinger, M. (1975). Lag responses in mood reports to changes in the
weather matrix. Int. J. Biometeor., 19, 108-114.

Russell, J. (2003). Core affect and the psychological construction of
emotion. Psychological Review, 110, 145-172
Scott, J. (2007). Impact of weather conditions on mood. The impact of
weather conditions on mood variability in geographically re-located
versus non-relocated individuals, Minnesota State University, Mankato


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