Gloomy weather ’sharpens the mind’

April 18th, 2009 - 12:07 pm ICT by ANI  

New York, Apr 18 (ANI): Gloomy weather might leave you feeling blue but it’s great for the brain, claim scientists.

The negative effect that bad weather has on people’s mood actually sharpens their mind, researchers from Australia’s University of New South Wales School of Psychology claimed.

“People performed much better on our memory test when the weather was unpleasant and they were in a slightly negative mood,” The New York Daily News quoted Professor Joe Forgas, who quizzed shoppers at a Sydney store over a period of two months, as saying.

“On bright, sunny days, when they were more likely to be happy and carefree, they flunked it,” he noted.

In the study, research team found that those who participated in memory tests were able to recall three times more information when the weather was bad and they were feeling down.

Sad music was played in the store when the weather was bad and happy music when the weather was sunny to “further influence them towards negative or positive moods,” according to Forgas.

“It seems counter-intuitive but a little bit of sadness is a good thing,” says Forgas.

The findings have been published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

“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,” Forgas said.

He added: “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.” (ANI)

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