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article imageSunshine feeds the soul, but gloomy days recharge our memory.

By Joan Firstenberg     Apr 17, 2009 in Health
Good news for those of us who are gloomy. A new study finds that bad moods brought on by cloudy weather may actually sharpen the mind.
Gloomy days may leave you feeling blue - but there is new evidence that our memories may actually function better when its overcast and cloudy.
Researchers from Australia’s University of New South Wales School of Psychology have determined that the negative effect that bad weather has on our mood actually work to sharpen the mind. Professor Joe Forgas, who quizzed shoppers At a Sydney store over a time period of two months says,
"People performed much better on our memory test when the weather was unpleasant and they were in a slightly negative mood. On bright, sunny days, when they were more likely to be happy and carefree, they flunked it."
The researchers found that those who participated in their memory tests were able to recall three times more information when the weather was bad and they were feeling down.
To help the responders, sad music was played in the stores when the weather was bad and happy music when the weather was sunny. Forgas says that was done to:
"further influence them towards negative or positive moods"
Forgas admits that his findings do seem to go against common sense. .....
"It seems counter-intuitive but a little bit of sadness is a good thing."
The results of Forgas team's findings have now been published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. The findings do mirror earlier studies that suggest that moody students did better on tests than those who were cheerful.
Forgas concludes with these thoughts....
"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.”
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