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-   -   Britain's gloomy weather boosts the brain, claim Australian scientists (http://www.teenhelp.org/forums/f38-current-events-debates/t11763-britains-gloomy-weather-boosts-brain-claim-australian-scientists/)

losing touch. April 20th 2009 12:42 AM

Britain's gloomy weather boosts the brain, claim Australian scientists
"Cheer up Britain's gloomy weather may not be good for the soul but it's great for the mind, claim scientists in sunny Australia."


Psychologists have discovered that people performed better in memory tests when the weather was bad and they were feeling grumpy.
The research discovered that the worse the weather and the more depressed the individual, the sharper their brain.
The findings were made by the University of New South Wales School of Psychology. The team carried out the study by questioning shoppers at a Sydney store over two months.
They tested their memory and found that they recalled three times as much information when the weather was bad and they were feeling down.
Professor Joe Forgas, who led the research, said: "It seems counter-intuitive but a little bit of sadness is a good thing.
"People performed much better on our memory test when the weather was unpleasant and they were in a slightly negative mood.
"On bright sunny days, when they were more likely to be happy and carefree, they flunked it."
The research mirrors previous research that showed that gloomy students received better grades than those that were happy.
In the latest tests, the researchers randomly placed 10 small ornamental objects on the checkout counter.
They included plastic animal figures, a toy cannon, a pink piggy bank and four small matchbox-sized vehicles, including a red London bus and a tractor.
On rainy days, sad music was played in the store. When it was bright and sunny, customers heard happy music. This was done to "further influence them towards negative or positive moods", the researchers said.
After their shopping, customers were asked how many of the objects they could remember.
During bad weather, they could recall three times as many items as those on sunny days. The results were published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.
"They point to a growing body of evidence that the way people think, the quality of their judgements and the accuracy of their memory are all significantly influenced by positive and negative moods," the researchers said.
They concluded that "memory is far more accurate" on gloomy days.
Professor Forgas added: "More and more evidence from experiments like this is showing that mild, fleeting moods can have a profound yet subconscious influence on how people think and deal with information.
"Being happy tends to promote a thinking style that is less focused on our surroundings. In a positive mood we are more likely to make more snap judgments about people we meet. We are more forgetful and yet we are paradoxically far more likely to be overconfident that our recall is correct.
"Mild negative mood, in turn, tends to increase attention to our surroundings and produce a more careful, thorough thinking style.
"Accurately remembering mundane, everyday scenes is a difficult and demanding task, yet such memories can be of crucial importance in everyday life, as well as in forensic and legal practice.
"Surprisingly, the influence of mood states on the accuracy of real-life memories is still poorly understood."
i always assumed it would be the other way round. this is good though, as i hate sunny weather and much prefer it to be overcast and cold.. now i have a good reason when people think i'm weird! :D


Gidig April 20th 2009 03:25 AM

Re: Britain's gloomy weather boosts the brain, claim Australian scientists

That's insanely cool! But good mood vs. good memory? I'd pick mood any day :bleh:

Double X April 20th 2009 03:30 AM

Re: Britain's gloomy weather boosts the brain, claim Australian scientists
Not sure if it's similar, but many great frontmen also had a depression, perhaps that contributed to their memory/creativity? grasping at straws here :p

InSovietRussiaORGASMGotU April 20th 2009 03:51 AM

Re: Britain's gloomy weather boosts the brain, claim Australian scientists
Hmm, slightly new to me, however, I have to wonder, if they're used to more or less lousier weather then it may not have such a large effect. Also, being slightly grouchy due to the weather could perhaps allow different and better encoding and rehersal than happy weather, as in, they wouldn't be all focused on the music and happiness as much but rather focusing on other things (i.e. the things to remember). When there's happy weather and music, then they may want to focus on the music and thus, divide their attention further. After all, if there's sad music, you'd rather focus on what's happier or neutral, hence, the stuff in the store and whatnot.

asphyxiated April 22nd 2009 04:04 AM

Re: Britain's gloomy weather boosts the brain, claim Australian scientists
Yet another reason to love those adorable British accents... :D

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