Gloomy weather- gloomy mood- gloomy life?


So, let’s start with something small, but very interesting in my opinion 🙂

Everyone has got the feeling sometimes, that on a rainy day the world is just not so bright and beautiful, one feels depressed, floppy, sluggish etc.  😦

rain45http://www.soulcatcherstudio.com/images/artistpages/leipzig/rain45.jpg

Yep, that’s why a group of scientists took the weather as a variable to induce good or bad mood into people and then they asked how satisfied they are with their live in general. They just called random people on sunny or rainy days and asked them questions about life satisfaction as a part of telephone study.

And what do you think happened? Right, when the weather was sunny people felt more satisfied with their lives in general, as when the weather was rainy. OK- but that is actually not a big deal, everyone knows it and it has been proven before.

sonnenschein2
http://www.85qm.de/up/sonnenschein.jpg

But there were 3 conditions:

1. Indirect priming condition- Interviewer asks “By the way, how is the weather down there?”

2. Direct priming condition- Interviewer says: “We are interested in how the weather affects personal mood.”

3. No priming condition- the Interviewer doesn’t say or ask anything about the weather.

So what? Results: On sunny days people reported more happiness and satisfaction and less desire to change in every condition. In contrast on rainy days people reported less happiness and satisfaction and more desire to change, but only in the no priming condition. In all scales of satisfaction, people differed in their answers only in the no priming condition on a rainy day.

And? So the conclusion is that people use moods as information for judgments about general life satisfaction and happiness, but only as long as they seem to be a reliable source of information => as long no other explanation for the mood is available. As long as one can explain a mood with personally irrelevant, external explanation, one does it, especially when the mood is bad. A good mood is unconsidered taken as a reliable information source, but that’s not so bad, right 😉

Why is it so? The authors suggest that people are more motivated to seek external explanation for negative than for positive moods, because most people experience positive moods as their normal state.

So what do I learn from it? That when someone asks me: “How do you feel?” I should always first ask myself- “How is the weather today” and then answer to his question, because we often oversee more reliable and favorably information sources for our judgment.

But more important- what do you learn from it/what do you think? 😉

the  original study: http://sitemaker.umich.edu/norbert.schwarz/files/83_jpsp_schwarz___clore_mood.pdf

replication 20 years later: http://sitemaker.umich.edu/norbert.schwarz/files/03_pi_schwarz___clore_mood.pdf

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