Ever wonder why you often feel a little lazy, unproductive but nicer to be around in the summer?
The answer may lie in a series of studies that have been made over recent years which have found that quite figuratively, and like flowers left in the summer sun without water, our brains wilt on warm, summer days
An American Time Use Survey taken in 2008 found that on a rainy day we worked on average 30 more minutes than we did on sunny days.
Similarly, a 2012 combined University of North Carolina and Harvard University study of bank workers in Japan, found they were more productive on bad weather days than sunny days. The study involved the time workers processed loan applications, regardless of how often they had done the task.
The findings of both studies are not actually rocket science - both concluding humans lacked motivation on warm sunny days, while on unpleasant days, unless one was a rain freak, people did not want to venture outside.
The 2012 study also tried to determine why weather had an affect on production. The Harvard researchers randomly assigned study participants data entry tasks. Before beginning work, some participants were shown six photos of nice weather, outdoor activities, and were asked to note their daily routines. The researchers found participants produced less work when they viewed the fine weather photos, focusing less on their work and more on what they could be doing other than working, regardless of what the weather was like outside. Just thinking about sunny day activities before commencing work, dropped production.
Back in 1994, a study on ambient mood altering showed that pleasant weather lead to noticeable and measurable lapses of concentration. That study involved 122 undergraduates who were required to participate in higher education surveys. On fine weather days, study participants were easily persuaded to agree to less than solid arguments put forward, while on bad weather days, there was much more thought given to survey questions with answers based on free thinking rather than persuasion. The study concluded that good weather made people more open to suggestion at the expense of analysis.
Other studies have even found that the hotter the weather, the less likely people were to question what they were told. Renowned psychologist Uri Simonsohn found that potential students were more inclined to enroll in colleges that were famous for their academic workload if they visited them on a bad weather day.
A 2013 study conducted by economist Marie Connolly even concluded that on days with temperatures over 90 degrees, people were more likely to feel less saddened by the prospect of divorce or being widowed than on days with lower temperatures.
The natural question that arise from these studies is whether pollsters and advertisers take into consideration the weather when planning.