Can changes in atmospheric pressure affect our mood? © Getty Images

Can changes in atmospheric pressure affect our mood?

It's hard to distinguish whether pressure affects our mood, or if it's nice weather that cheers us up.

Asked by: Anonymous

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If they do, it must be a very subtle effect. Several studies have looked at correlations between the weather and our mood, and atmospheric pressure appears to have the smallest influence. A 2008 study of outpatients with rapid cycling bipolar disorder at the University of Virginia, found that their mood swings correlated quite well with changes in temperature, but much less so with changes in pressure.

But mood is a very individual thing, and researchers found that no single equation could be used to describe the mood changes of all the subjects in the study. Even where correlations can be found, it is much harder to say whether they are a consequence of the temperature or pressure itself, or of the indirect effect this has on the weather. We are more likely to feel cheerful on bright, sunny days than dark, rainy ones, for example.

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