Can sunshine make me happy?
Maybe Travis said it best when they said “Why does it always rain on me? Even when the sun is shining I can't avoid the lightning”
Asked by: Claire Rennick, Glasgow
When it’s sunny, it seems like people are happier – we fill the parks and beaches, and radio stations start blasting out upbeat tunes. And yet, research has repeatedly failed to find any evidence that people who live in sunnier places enjoy more positive moods. A new, massive study published in 2016 even brought into question the idea that a lack of sunshine can lead to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Nearly 35,000 US adults completed a mood survey at different times of year and there was no evidence of more depression symptoms among those who completed the survey in winter.
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Dr Christian Jarrett is a cognitive neuroscientist, science writer and author. He is the Deputy Editor of Psyche, the sister magazine to Aeon that illuminates the human condition through psychology, philosophy and the arts. Jarrett also created the British Psychological Society's Research Digest blog and was the first ever staff journalist on the Society's magazine, The Psychologist. He is author of Great Myths of The Brain and Be Who You Want: Unlocking the Science of Personality Change.
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