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The effect of weather and its changes on emotional state - individual characteristics that make us vulnerable

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Given the proven effects of weather on the human organism, an attempt to examine its effects on a psychological and emotional level has been made. Emotions affect the bio tone, working ability, and concentration; hence their significance in various domains of economic life such as health care, education, transportation, and tourism. The present pilot study was conducted in Sofia, Bulgaria over a period of eight months, using five psychological methods: Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Test for Self-assessment of the emotional state, Test for evaluation of moods and Test ''Self-confidence-Activity-Mood''. The Fiodorov-Chubukov's complex-climatic method was used to characterize meteorological conditions in order to include a maximal number of meteorological elements in the analysis. Sixteen weather types are defined depending on the meteorological elements values according to this method. Abrupt weather changes from one day to another, defined by the same method, were also considered. The results obtained by t-test showed that the different categories of weather led to changes in the emotional status, which indicates a character either positive or negative for the organism. The abrupt weather changes, according to expectations, have negative effects on human emotions - but only when a transition to the cloudy weather or weather type, classified as ''unfavorable'', has been realized. The relationship between weather and human emotions is rather complicated since it depends on individual characteristics of people. One of these individual psychological characteristics, marked by the dimension ''neuroticism'', has a strong effect on emotional reactions in different weather conditions. Emotionally stable individuals are more ''resistant'' to the weather influence on their emotions, while those who are emotionally unstable have a stronger dependence on the impacts of weather.
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The effect of weather and its changes on emotional state
– individual characteristics that make us vulnerable
Z. Spasova
National Center of Public Health and Analyses, Sofia, Bulgaria
Correspondence to: Z. Spasova (z spassova@abv.bg)
Received: 30 December 2010 – Revised: 8 December 2011 – Accepted: 5 March 2012 – Published: 27 March 2012
Abstract. Given the proven eects of weather on the human organism, an attempt to examine its eects
on a psychological and emotional level has been made. Emotions aect the bio tone, working ability, and
concentration; hence their significance in various domains of economic life such as health care, education,
transportation, and tourism.
The present pilot study was conducted in Sofia, Bulgaria over a period of eight months, using five psycholog-
ical methods: Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Test for Self-assessment of
the emotional state, Test for evaluation of moods and Test “Self-confidence-Activity-Mood”. The Fiodorov-
Chubukov’s complex-climatic method was used to characterize meteorological conditions in order to include
a maximal number of meteorological elements in the analysis. Sixteen weather types are defined depending
on the meteorological elements values according to this method. Abrupt weather changes from one day to
another, defined by the same method, were also considered.
The results obtained by t-test showed that the dierent categories of weather led to changes in the emotional
status, which indicates a character either positive or negative for the organism. The abrupt weather changes,
according to expectations, have negative eects on human emotions – but only when a transition to the cloudy
weather or weather type, classified as “unfavorable”, has been realized. The relationship between weather
and human emotions is rather complicated since it depends on individual characteristics of people. One of
these individual psychological characteristics, marked by the dimension “neuroticism”, has a strong eect on
emotional reactions in dierent weather conditions. Emotionally stable individuals are more “resistant” to the
weather influence on their emotions, while those who are emotionally unstable have a stronger dependence on
the impacts of weather.
1 Introduction
The weak but significant relationship between weather and
mood is one of the oldest and most frequent topics in popu-
lar biometeorology. Although the statement seems intuitively
obvious, the experimental verification of this relationship has
been dicult and complex (Persinger, 1975). Studies on the
eect of weather on human emotions are relatively low in
number and in Bulgaria they are an exception. These stud-
ies are also dicult to interpret, susceptible of confounding
variables, and of mixed results (Scott, 2007). Most of them
focus on the relationship between the weather and mood.
Barnston (1988) performed an experiment in which 62
university student subjects in Illinois kept structured diaries
of their feelings and their productivity for six weeks in early
autumn. During the same period, he monitored the daily
frequency of telephone calls to a crisis intervention service
and collected the complete daily weather data for the vicin-
ity from a local meteorological research facility. The results
show that the weather appears to influence mood and produc-
tivity, but only to a small extent compared with the aggregate
of all other controlling factors. Males experienced a rela-
tively stronger eect than females. Psychologically troubled
people generally appeared to be more aected by weather.
People with mild problems tended to be stressed more when
Published by Copernicus Publications.
282 Z. Spasova: The effect of weather and its changes on emotional state
the weather is unstable, cloudy, warm and humid; and least
stressed during sunny, dry, cool weather with rising baromet-
ric pressure. The crisis service clients with severe problems
reacted oppositely to these two weather types.
Hribersek et al. (1987) researched 21-months of the calls
to a telephone counseling service at Louvain. Contrary to
Barnston (1988) they found that women are more sensitive
to weather compared to men, which they explained with hor-
monal dierences. They also explained the phenomenon
women make more calls when the weather is adverse with
the fact they prefer to stay at home during severe weather.
This statement is supported by Trenkle (1982) and Michael
and Zumpe (1983) as well.
Persinger (1975) did a detailed study on the relationship
between the weather and mood. He calculated correlations
between daily self-evaluated mood reports (4 reports/day) of
10 student subjects and 10 meteorological-geophysical vari-
ables over a 90-day period. The variables are mean and/or
change measures of temperature, barometric pressure, rela-
tive humidity, sunshine hours, wind speeds and global geo-
magnetic activity. Multiple regression analyses indicate that
the weather matrix used could account for not more than
35% of the mood variance on the day of the evaluation.
Lag correlations over the previous week indicates a greater
number of significant correlations between mood reports and
weather of the previous two days. The mean correlation co-
ecient is 0.27. The author concluded that “lower moods”
are associated with fewer sunshine hours, higher relative hu-
midity, and smaller humidity variations than “higher moods”.
It is concluded that mood reports can show weak response to
antecedent weather fluctuation.
Howarth and Homan (1984) investigated the relationship
between eight weather variables (hours of sunshine, precip-
itation, temperature, wind direction, wind velocity, humid-
ity, change in barometric pressure and absolute barometric
pressure) and 10 mood variables (concentration, cooperation,
anxiety, potency, aggression, depression, sleepiness, skepti-
cism, control, and optimism). Data was collected from 24
male subjects over 11 consecutive days. The results show
that “humidity, temperature and hours of sunshine have the
greatest eect on mood. High levels of humidity lowered
scores on concentration, while increasing reports of sleepi-
ness. Rising temperatures lowered anxiety and skepticism
mood scores”.
Palinkas (2001) compared cold temperatures with mental
processes. He found that low temperatures influence the con-
centration of attention, memory and general cognitive pro-
cesses. “There is evidence of a dose-response relation in-
volving decrements in cognitive performance with respect to
decline in core body temperature and complexity of tasks per-
formed. However, it is unclear whether these eects are due
to distraction or increased anxiety.
Mood disturbances like nervousness, irritability, aggres-
siveness or phlegm, reduced concentration of attention are
symptoms of so-called foehn illness. As many authors say,
these symptoms could be registered during extreme tem-
perature changes and during the passage of weather fronts
(Tromp, 1979; Fletcher, 1988); rapid drop of atmospheric
pressure followed by its rapid rise (Fletcher, 1988); strong
winds blowing (Auliciems, 1978; Thomson, 1979; Sulman,
1980; Fletcher, 1988).
Some of the authors make attempts to connect the percep-
tion of weather with the residence of investigated people and
with their personal characteristics. Scott (2007) hypothesize
the “relocated individuals are more susceptible to fluctua-
tions in mood stemming from novel weather conditions than
indigenous individuals”. He has conducted a research with
70 life-long Minnesota residents and 25 individuals who have
spent minimum of one year living outside of Minnesota. Par-
ticipants completed a mood self-report measure online for
four consecutive weeks to determine positive and negative
aect levels. Data was then matched with corresponding
weather data for the same time period. The author found no
support for the hypothesis; however, “sunshine was identified
as the crucial factor for mood adjustment”.
Denissen et al. (2008) suggest that the individual dier-
ences may have an eect on how people perceive the weather.
They press on fact that dierences in sensitivity to daily
weather have not been studied previously, but some stud-
ies suggest a link between seasonality and personality, es-
pecially concerning the trait of neuroticism (e.g. Jang et al.,
1997; Murray et al., 1995) (cit. by Denissen et al., 2008).
They use the Big Five Inventory Test (BFI) to determine if
the weather influences in a dierent way people with dif-
ferent personality traits. The test is measuring Extraversion,
Neuroticism, Openness to Experiences, Conscientiousness,
and Agreeableness. The authors examine the eects of six
weather parameters (temperature, wind power, sunlight, pre-
cipitation, air pressure, and photoperiod) on mood (positive
aect, negative aect, and tiredness). They analyze the re-
sults from an online diary study of 1233 people. They re-
veal main eects of temperature, wind power, and sunlight
on negative aect. Sunlight has a main eect on tiredness
and mediated the eects of precipitation and air pressure on
tiredness. According to Denissen et al. (2008) the average ef-
fect of weather on mood is small, though there is significant
random variation across individuals, especially regarding the
eect of photoperiod. There are also no evidences that the in-
dividual dierences in weather sensitivity could be explained
by the Five Factor Model personality traits, gender, or age.
Several findings in general deny the relationship between
weather and emotional state in spite of finding some signif-
icant coecients. Findikyan and Sells (1964) for example
investigated students from Texas, who had to fill out a diary
with their everyday subjective feelings. The group as a whole
did not show significant correlations between the weather pa-
rameters and mood, although the female group showed a sig-
nificant negative correlation between the dimension “humid-
ity” and positive mood.
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Z. Spasova: The effect of weather and its changes on emotional state 283
Table 1. Distribution of the investigated persons by sex and age (%).
Sex Age groups Mean age
16–20 21–30 31–40 41–50 51–60
Males (44) 25 4 5 7 3 23.48
Females (143) 90 17 13 17 6 26.36
All (187) 115 21 18 24 9 25.68
Watson’s (2000) research is of diary reports of eight dier-
ent samples of students from Texas (total number of 478 peo-
ple) for 8-yr period – 1985–1993. Analyzing the amount of
sunshine and rain, he fails to find consistent eect on any of
the daily mood variables. Interested if the extreme weather
conditions have an eect on people’s mood, Watson (2000)
also compares days with 0% sunshine with days with 100 %
sunshine. He finds that the sunshine only influenced the over-
all intensity of participants’ mood reports, not the valence of
these reports.
Driscoll and Stillman (2002) analyzed the calls to tele-
phone counseling services (“hotlines”) each serving com-
munities in a major metropolitan area of the United States
(Detroit, Washington DC, Dallas and Seattle) for the period
1997–1998. They investigated associations with subjectively
derived weather types for all cities except Seattle, as well
as with individual weather elements as cloudiness, precipi-
tation, wind speed, and interdiurnal temperature change for
all four cities. The authors reveal that despite the statistically
significant results “obtained in scattered instances, the total
number was within that expected by chance”, and that “there
was little in the way of consistency with these associations”.
One exception is the increase of call frequency during severe
weather, “when there is obvious concern about the damage
done by it”.
Keller et al. (2005) investigate the eect of tempera-
ture and barometric pressure on mood and cognition (mem-
ory and cognitive style) of 97 North American participants.
The authors do not find consistent main eect of weather
on mood, though they observe that pleasant weather (with
higher temperature or barometric pressure) is “related to
higher mood, better memory and “broadened” cognitive
style during the spring” (only this season) “as time spent
outside increased”. On hot summer days, conversely, spend-
ing more time outside is associated with deteriorated mood.
These results are consistent with findings on seasonal af-
fective disorder, and suggest that pleasant weather improves
mood and broadens cognition in spring because people have
been deprived of such weather during the winter”.
The contradictions in the results of the listed studies reveal
that the issue requires an additional consideration. We hope
our study, in spite being a pilot limited in time, would con-
tribute in revealing some aspects of the weather’s influence
on human emotional state.
2 Data and methods
The present research took place in Sofia City during 25 days
within a period of 8 months (November 1998–June 1999). A
group of 187 volunteers was examined. Their number varied
for dierent dates. The group included males and females
aged between 16 and 60yr, without serious disturbances in
their physical and mental status. Among the persons exam-
ined, there were secondary and high school students, teach-
ers and university lecturers, workers and pensioners. De-
tailed information about the gender and age distribution of
the tested people is given in Table 1.
Five psychological methods were used – four of them in-
tended for emotional state analysis, while the fifth deter-
mined the human temperament.
One of the most frequently used questionnaires for assess-
ing anxiety as an emotional state is the State-Trait Anxiety
Inventory (STAI) (Spielberger et al., 1970). The test has
been adopted for Bulgarian population by Shtetinski and Pas-
palanov (1989). STAI is a self-evaluating test, which com-
prises of two separate scales, which measure the S-anxiety
(Y-1 form) and T-anxiety (Y-2 form). In the S-scale, the
main qualities being under scrutiny are related to the so-
called “gloomy presentiment” (i.e. the sensation of danger)
of the tension, nervousness and inconvenience type. This
scale measures the situative anxiety. In the T-scale, the as-
sessed qualities are related to the persistent sensation of dan-
ger, tension and nervousness (i.e. it includes the extent of
proneness to anxiety). The evaluation of the test results is
done individually for each researched individual following
the key to the STAI test. The numerical values obtained for
all items on each scale are collected and the result is com-
pared with test norms for the scale. The marks on both scales
can vary in the range between 20 and 80 points.
The Test for Self-assessment of the emotional state
(SAES) was developed by the American psychologists
A. Wessman and D. Ricks. It is comprised of four sub-
scales: “calmness-anxiety”, “vigor-tiredness”, “high spirits-
low spirits” and “self-confidence – lack of self-confidence”
(Karelin, 1997).
The test “Evaluation of moods” investigates the most pro-
longed emotional state, which determines one’s attitude to-
ward the environment (Karelin, 1997). The test diagnoses
three states of the mood: normal, euphoric mood, and
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284 Z. Spasova: The effect of weather and its changes on emotional state
asthenic state (it shows the negative moods of the subjects
at the moment of taking the test).
The “Self-confidence-Activity-Mood” (SCAM) Question-
naire was developed by specialists from the Military
Academy in Saint Petersburg, and is designed for operational
evaluation of self-confidence, activity and mood of subjects
(Rimskii and Rimskii, 1995).
The Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) (Pas-
palanov et al., 1984) does not measure the emotional state
of the subjects. It was included in the study because it is the
one which has a scale of “lie”, serving as an indicator of the
reliability of responses. That also makes it possible to rec-
ognize the impact of weather on people having major basic
personality traits such as extraversion, psychoticism, and es-
pecially neuroticism which is directly connected with human
emotional states and processes.
Neuroticism and emotional stability are basic personal
characteristics that refer to emotionality as a personality
trait. On physiological level they are connected with the
inflammability level of the autonomic nervous system and
visceral brain. Individuals who score high on neuroticism
are more likely than the average to experience feelings as
anxiety, guilt, anger, and depressed mood (Matthews and
Deary, 1998). They respond more poorly to environmen-
tal stress, they are often self-conscious and shy, and they
may have trouble controlling urges and delaying gratifica-
tion (Goleman, 1997). They are highly emotional and im-
pressionable, with strong reactions to the all kind of stimulus
and return slower to the normal state. Emotionally stable in-
dividuals have higher thresholds of emotional reaction, they
return faster to the normal state after emotionally excitement.
They are usually calm, steady, and control themselves well.
They have higher adaptive abilities especially in stressful sit-
uations (Eysenck and Eysenck, 1975).
The Fiodorov-Chubukov’s complex-climatic method (see
Tishkov, 1985) was used to characterize meteorological con-
ditions for the purpose of including in the analysis a maximal
number of meteorological elements. The method considers
cloudiness ass well, an important factor for purposes of our
study as it has been found the sunlight has a significant eect
on mood. Lambert et al. (2002) states that “the rate of pro-
duction of serotonin by the brain was directly related to the
prevailing duration of bright sunlight and rose rapidly with
increased luminosity”. Another advantage of the complex-
climatic method is that it has been applied for characterizing
the climate of Sofia which makes the results of our study ap-
plicable.
According to Fiodorov-Chubukov’s complex-climatic
method there are three major types of weather: warm
weather, weather with transition of temperature through 0 C,
and frosty weather. These weather groups include 16 weather
types/classes (see Figs. 1 and 2).
Abrupt weather changes from one day to another, defined
by the same method (Fig. 3) were considered as well, with
the presumption they could be a source of additional envi-
ronmental stress on the tested people.
Y. Ajizkii (cited by Boksha and Bogutskii, 1980) classi-
fied the 16 weather types according their impact on human
biocomfort. He dierentiated three groups:
1. Favorable weather types (II, III, IV, V, IX, X, XI types);
2. Relatively favorable weather types (I, VI, VIII, XII);
3. Unfavorable weather types (VII, XVI, XIII, XVI and
XV), as well as weather types from the second group
with strong wind blowing (over 9ms1), storm, fog,
hailstorm, blizzard, or sand storm.
By recurrence of testing in the same weather types with the
same persons, we managed to eliminate the suspicion that it
was weather that leads to certain emotional states. We also
conducted a brief inquiry which helped us to eliminate re-
sponses of those people whose emotions at the time of survey
were strongly influenced by external factors. The statistical
processing of the results included calculation of the average
values and standard deviation for grouped data and compar-
ative analysis through the t-test.
3 Hypotheses of the study
3.1 First hypothesis
It can be assumed that dierent weather classes will aect the
emotional state of people and that influence will show sta-
tistically significant dierences among the dierent weather
groups (favorable, relative favorable and unfavorable).
3.2 Second hypothesis
It is expected that abrupt weather changes will provoke neg-
ative emotions in subjects.
3.3 Third hypothesis
It is believed that changes in emotional state aected by
weather will depend on individual dierences of people; they
will be stronger in people with high levels of neuroticism.
4 Results and discussion
During the 25 days of testing, seven of the 16 weather types
were observed – both sunny and cloudy in some of the types
from the groups, with transition of temperature through 0C
and frosty weather. The following weather types have been
observed: III (slightly cloudy) – in 7 days; VII (rainy) – in 1
day, VIII (weather with transition of the temperature through
0C – warm spell) – in 4 days, IX (weather with transition
of the temperature through 0C – cold spell) – 6 days, X
(slightly frosty) – 2 days, XI (moderate frosty) – 4 days and
Adv. Sci. Res., 6, 281–290, 2011 www.adv-sci-res.net/6/281/2011/
Z. Spasova: The effect of weather and its changes on emotional state 285
Figure 1. Weather classes during the warm part of the year (source: Tishkov, 1985).
Figure 2. Weather classes during the cold part of the year (source:
Tishkov, 1985).
XVI (tropical) – 1 day. Here we provide a short description
of the observed weather types during the study period:
Class III (partly cloudy) is characterized with cloud cover
less than 7/10 during the day and night. Temperature and hu-
midity may vary broadly, but usually the class is character-
ized with moderate values of these meteorological elements.
Class VIII (rainy) is observed when cloud cover is more
than 7/10 during the day and night, with precipitation of
rain. In most cases this weather type is connected with atmo-
spheric frontal passage. “Such type of weather often provoke
depressive mood in people.” (Hristov and Tanev, 1978).
Class VIII and class IX (weather with transition of temper-
ature through 0C) is characterized by temperatures above
and below 0C – during class VIII the maximum tempera-
ture is above 0C, while the minimum and diurnal average
temperatures are below 0C; and during class IX the max-
imum and diurnal mean temperatures are above 0C, while
the minimum temperature is negative.
Frosty weather is characterized by negative mean, maxi-
mum and minimum temperatures and is divided accordingly
its severity in five classes (see Fig. 2).
On four of the days of the study period abrupt changes of
weather occurred (see Table 2).
4.1 Results of the first hypothesis
The results of all tests and their sub-scales showed an in-
crease of negative emotions during adverse weather type oc-
currences – although in the group of favorable weather types
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286 Z. Spasova: The effect of weather and its changes on emotional state
Figure 3. Scheme for determination the contradistinction of the
weather changes (source: Baibakova et al., 1966).
there were contradictory results. It should be concluded that
weather types defined as “favorable” do not always have a fa-
vorable eect on human emotions. For example, we had in-
vestigated weather types VII (rainy) and XVI (tropical) from
the group of unfavorable weather classes with tests STAI and
SAES. The statistical relation of class XVI (tropical) and
classes III (little cloudy), VIII (with transition of tempera-
ture through 0C – warm spell), IX (with transition of tem-
perature through 0 C – cold spell) and X (slightly frosty) re-
vealed that there are significant dierences only with III and
IX weather type. This can be interpreted as low favorability
of classes VIII and X in terms of emotions, and higher for
classes III and IX. This finding is confirmed by the relation-
ship between the above mentioned four classes. In all meth-
ods used in almost all cases (except two) between class III
and IX, on the one hand, and class VIII and X, on the other,
significant dierences are realized. Mean average values in
dierent sub-scales showed that the first couple of weather
types have a positive impact on human emotions and the sec-
ond pair – a negative impact.
Significant dierences have been observed between IX
(weather with transition of temperature through 0C – cold
spell) and III (little cloudy) types at the one hand, and type XI
(moderate frosty) on the other. The latter also belongs to the
group of favorable classes. These dierences and the mean
average values of the test SCAM showed that the XI type
(moderate frosty) has less beneficial eect on human emo-
tional processes and states compared with III and IX classes,
although it is also a part of the favorable group.
4.2 Results of the second hypothesis
As we mentioned above, during the period of the research
abrupt weather changes on four days were observed. In two
of the cases a favorable weather class is changed with another
favorable weather class (X cloudy turns to IX and IX turns
to XI cloudy). One of the abrupt weather changes is when
weather turns from unfavorable to favorable class (class VII
has been changed with class IX). We have also observed
one transition from favorable weather class to unfavorable
weather class (when type IX has been changed with VII) (see
Table 2).
The results of the hypothesis show that we could speak
of a tendency of negativity of emotional states during abrupt
weather changes, but not for objective law. Moreover, the
presence of normal emotional state indicates that abrupt
changes do not have a consistent influence on the human
emotional state – but are internally dierentiated. Probably
there are transitions from one weather class to another which
alter the eects of contrasting weather changes depending on
the direction of the occurring transitions.
This is confirmed by analysis of weather changes during
the dates of the study. Normal emotional state is observed
when the weather is changing to classes from the “favor-
able” group, or when weather turns from cloudy to sunny.
In cases of transition from favorable weather class to unfa-
vorable weather class we observe negative emotional state,
in our case – heightened anxiety (see Table 2).
4.3 Results of the third hypothesis
The all 187 persons involved in the study have been tested
once with EPQ. Women prevail forming about 3/4 of the
group (see Table 1). The share of neurotic people is 58.3 %
and emotionally stable are 35.8% (Fig. 4). The mean value
of neuroticism scores is 13.06 for the group.
In our third hypothesis we expected that people with
higher neuroticism scores would be more aected by the
weather and its changes. The results entirely confirmed our
assumption. We had investigated the relationship between
emotionally stable people and neurotic people (ambiverts,
the individuals characterized with the same degree of emo-
tional stability and neuroticism had been excluded from the
analysis). The obtained values by t-test are high – not only
in its statistical significance, but also as a numerical score.
The biggest dierences in the sub-scale for high mood are
observed in the SAES test (Table 3). Obviously the greater
sensitivity of the neurotics aects their emotional reaction to
changes in environment, including weather changes. As a
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Z. Spasova: The effect of weather and its changes on emotional state 287
Table 2. Qualitative assessment of the emotions of the volunteers by mean average values in dierent sub-scales during abrupt weather
changes.
Abrupt weather changes SAES Test
I II III IV
Xcl IXs 4.40 4.70 4.36 4.80
/Slightly frosty (cloudy) Weather with transition Moderately negative,
of temperature through 0 C – cold spell (sunny)/close to normal state
VII IXcl 5.33 5.63 5.72 5.81
/Rainy Weather with transition of Moderately Normal
temperature through 0 C – cold spell (cloudy)/negative emotional state
Test Evaluation of Moods
IXs XIcl I II III
/Weather with transition of temperature through 0C 4.03 4.50 4.91
– cold spell (sunny) Moderate frosty (cloudy)/Moderately negative Normal
emotional
state
IXcl VII STAI Test – S-anxiety
/Weather with transition of temperature through 0C 44.18 – Heightened anxiety
– cold spell (cloudy) Rainy/
Figure 4. Distribution of the investigated people according to di-
mention Neuroticism/Stability.
matter of principle, the same thing is observed for the other
three sub-scales – which measure other kinds of emotional
states. Results on these sub-scales are lower but remain sta-
tistically significant. In smallest (but statistically significant)
degree, weather aects self-confidence of people with dif-
ferent emotional stability. The reasons for this have already
been discussed.
The results of the test “Evaluation of moods” show some
specifics of meaningful and quantitative nature. The values
of sub-scales which measure mood and asthenic state are not
only significant, but also high; while the euphoria result is
statistically insignificant. This test shows that the individ-
ual dierences in neuroticism dimension aects strongly the
mood – and in lesser extent – the asthenic state of people. Eu-
phoria does not show significant changes in this comparison
as well (Table 3).
The results of SCAM test show that all t-test values are
statistically significant, but it is interesting that the highest
value is of the sub-scale measuring self-confidence, followed
by those measuring mood and activity (Table 3). It seems
that one of the peculiarities of neurotics lies in the fact that
the increased excitability of their nervous system has a strong
impact of their self-feeling. Probably this reflects on their
entire perception of the world and strongly aects their self-
confidence. Dierent number of tested people on both tests
(SCAM and SAES) could also change the ratio. In the same
direction works the dierent weather types during the testing
procedure of both groups. Finally, another important fact is
that the SCAM test has a slightly higher level of reliability of
the results, which inevitably has given its impact on the ratio
of results obtained by the dierent sub-scales.
The results of STAI test showed significant dierences be-
tween neurotics and emotionally stable people, although they
are minimal (tcritical =1.98) (see Table 3). STAI has a maxi-
mum level of reliability, which makes its results highly accu-
rate. Moreover it measures only S-anxiety while the SAES
test does not dierentiate the personal and situational anxi-
ety. This is the main reason for the quantitative dierences
in measurement of anxiety between these tests, and which
did not aect the quality of the value of benchmarking which
remains significant in both cases.
www.adv-sci-res.net/6/281/2011/ Adv. Sci. Res., 6, 281–290, 2011
288 Z. Spasova: The effect of weather and its changes on emotional state
Table 3. Comparative analysis by t-quotient of the results of the used psychological methods for the impact of the weather on people with
dierent neuroticism scores.
SAES Test
Sub-scales Calmness Energy High mood Self-confidence
S (stable) – 93 persons S S S
N (neurotic people) – 135 persons 4.073.714.523.53
Test Evaluation of Moods
Sub-scales Mood Asthenic state Euphoria
S – 71 persons S S
N – 92 persons 5.904.571.23
SCAM Test
Sub-scales Self-confidence Activity Mood
S – 69 persons S S
N – 95 persons 4.572.942.97
STAI Test
S-anxiety S – 67 persons
N – 109 persons 1.99
The quotients marked with an asterisk are statistically significant.
5 Discussion
The aim of our research was to reveal the eect of dier-
ent weather types and abrupt weather changes on people’s
emotions and to find if there are dierences in perception of
weather for people with dierent neuroticism scores.
As a pilot study the present research had some limitations
that should be discussed. It did not include the eect of the
whole number of 16 weather types of the used classification
for several reasons. Despite the limited number of dates of
testing, the described weather types have also a dierent fre-
quency during the year. Some of their manifestations are ex-
ceptional for the climate of Sofia, like XVI (tropical), XIV
(hardly frosty) and XV class (severe frosty). The XV class
has been even excluded from the adjusted classification for
Bulgaria because it’s not typical for the country. At the same
time, weather class number III (little cloudy) is observed dur-
ing all months of the year, varying from 1% of the days in
January to almost half of the days in September (46%). The
same is valid for rainy weather (class VII) which is observed
throughout the year, ranging from 3% in January and Febru-
ary to almost a quarter of the days in April, May and June.
Weather with transition of temperature trough 0 C (VIII and
IX class) is typical for the spring and autumn but is often ob-
served during the winter as well (Hristov and Tanev, 1978).
This fact requires more precise choosing of the dates of test-
ing people in which the weather forecast could play an im-
portant role. As we found some contradictions in terms of
favourableness of the weather types given by Ajizkii, the re-
sults of a more detailed study could be used for determination
the eect of weather types on human emotions and even clas-
sifying the weather in a new way accordingly its positive or
negative eect on the emotional state.
Another problem we strike concerned testing of people
with dierent psychological methods. It has been found that
if a particular group is tested frequently with the same tests
that might lead to inaccurate results because many people
will give similar answers. That requires testing a bigger num-
ber of people for a longer period.
Even describing the eect of a limited number of weather
types on human emotions we could notice that the neg-
ative eect of the unfavorable weather classes is clearly
manifested. This result confirmed the findings of Denis-
sen et al. (2008) who state that the weather consider-
ably aects negative emotions measured by items “afraid”,
“scared”, “nervous”, “jittery”, irritable”, “hostile”, “guilty”,
“ashamed”, “upset”, and “distressed”. Our findings although
state the weather can aect in a dierent extend the positive
emotions as well. Actually we found that all of the emo-
tional states excluding euphoria are aected by the weather.
It is understandable because euphoria is an extreme emotion
influenced by very strong positive factors for the person. The
rest of emotional states are aected in dierent extend by the
weather. The strongest is the eect of the weather on mood,
which varies widely according to the weather characteristics.
To a smaller extent, weather aects activity, asthenic state,
vigor, anxiety and high mood. Self-confidence is lesser influ-
enced by weather, which could be considered normal because
Adv. Sci. Res., 6, 281–290, 2011 www.adv-sci-res.net/6/281/2011/
Z. Spasova: The effect of weather and its changes on emotional state 289
it depends mostly on individual experience, way of life, so-
cial status, education, etc. It could be concluded from the
present study that weather influences the simple and short-
lived emotional states, while in the complicated and long-
lived emotions its eect is lower or non-existent.
We also supposed that the abrupt weather change is a
stressor for the human organism and therefore should neg-
atively aect people’s physiological and respectively emo-
tional state. This assumption although was not fully con-
firmed by the results of the study (see Sect. 4.2). One of the
possible explanations could be the age of the tested volun-
teers. They were young and they may have higher potential to
adapt to changing weather; while for older people, especially
those with chronic diseases, this would require physiological
tension which could lead to negative emotions. Another ex-
planation is the character of abrupt weather changes, as when
the weather “improves” (turns from unfavorable to favorable
types or from cloudy to sunny) the emotional state improves
as well. The problem requires drawing a deeper attention on
it in the future as the abrupt weather changes are expected to
increase in frequency with climate change.
We also found that the perception of weather and its
changes strongly depends on individual psychological char-
acteristics of people. Our assumption does not confirm the
findings of Denissen et al. (2008) who were not able to prove
that the individual dierences in weather sensitivity could be
explained by the Five Factor Model personality traits (one
of its sub-scales is measuring neuroticism), gender, or age.
Our findings reveal that neurotic people have higher sensi-
tivity to the weather while the emotionally stable individuals
are more “protected” against the weather influence on their
emotions. Although not dividing the studied group by gender
we could in indirect way state that women are more vulner-
able to the weather because they have higher scores of neu-
roticism. The norms of the dimension neuroticism are 9.69
points for men and 13.25 for women (statistically significant
dierence). The mean value of neuroticism scores is 13.06
for the group investigated by us which could be explained by
the higher percent of women.
In conclusion, we would like to emphasize that the thesis
of this work deserves further development, since its theoreti-
cal and applied eects are not negligible. Emotions aect the
bio tone, working ability and concentration; hence their sig-
nificance in various domains of economic life, such as health
care, education, transportation, and tourism. We believe the
relation between climatology and psychology has a future in
theoretical and practical aspects, revealing interesting depen-
dences between climatic phenomena and psychical reactions
of humans.
Acknowledgements. The author would like to thank psycholo-
gist Petar Zahariev for providing methodological help for this paper.
Edited by: T. Cegnar
Reviewed by: K. Zaninovic and three other anonymous referees
The publication of this article is sponsored
by the Swiss Academy of Sciences.
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