A Warm Heart and a Clear Head: The Effects of Weather on Human Mood and Cognition

Psychological Science 2005 16: 724

Posted: 28 Oct 2016

See all articles by Matthew C. Keller

Matthew C. Keller

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Center for Society and Genetics

Barbara Fredrickson

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

Oscar Ybarra

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Stéphane Côté

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Kareem Johnson

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Joseph Mikels

DePaul University

Annelise Conway

Pennsylvania State University

Tor Wager

University of Colorado at Boulder

Date Written: October 24, 2016

Abstract

Prior studies on the association between weather and psychological changes have produced mixed results. In part, this inconsistency may be because weather’s psychological effects are moderated by two important factors: the season and time spent outside. In two correlational studies and an experiment manipulating participants’ time outdoors (total N = 605), pleasant weather (higher temperature or barometric pressure) was related to higher mood, better memory, and ‘‘broadened’’ cognitive style during the spring as time spent outside increased. The same relationships between mood and weather were not observed during other times of year, and indeed hotter weather was associated with lower mood in the summer. These results are consistent with findings on seasonal affective disorder, and suggest that pleasant weather improves mood and broadens cognition in the spring because people have been deprived of such weather during the winter.

Suggested Citation

Keller, Matthew C. and Fredrickson, Barbara and Ybarra, Oscar and Cote, Stephane and Johnson, Kareem and Mikels, Joseph and Conway, Annelise and Wager, Tor, A Warm Heart and a Clear Head: The Effects of Weather on Human Mood and Cognition (October 24, 2016). Psychological Science 2005 16: 724. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2858564

Matthew C. Keller

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Center for Society and Genetics ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

Barbara Fredrickson

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

Oscar Ybarra

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Stephane Cote

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada

Kareem Johnson

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Joseph Mikels

DePaul University ( email )

1 East Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604
United States

Annelise Conway

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

University Park
State College, PA 16802
United States

Tor Wager (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder ( email )

Boulder, CO

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