Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)? No, brain works better in winter, researchers say

File:A small cup of coffee.JPGFrom stalwart of science New York Mag:

But scientists are coming to realize that this might not be quite right. A pair of new studies challenge many of the popular assumptions about the psychological effects of wintertime, suggesting that we should look at the season in a new, brighter light. The weather might be gray and chilly, but the latest science says we humans are better at dealing with this than we usually give ourselves credit for, both in terms of our mood and the basic functioning of our brains.

The first study is a massive investigation published recently in Clinical Psychological Science involving 34,294 U.S. adults. It casts doubt on the very notion that depression symptoms are worse in the winter months.

Contrary to what you might think, the results provided no evidence whatsoever that people’s depression symptoms tended to be higher in winter — or at any other time of the year. This lack of a seasonal effect was true whether looking at the entire sample or only respondents with depressive symptoms. The respondents’ geographical latitude and sunlight exposure on the day of the survey were also unrelated to depression scores. More.

Retro Biscuit Tin

Even though they say it, it might be true. 😉 That said, one needs to be careful about any studies in the social sciences, as even “skeptic” Michael Shermer is discovering.

See also: Salt? We thought one needed to do more to be a denialist. Another biscuit?