Are University Student’s feeling about the weather affecting productivity?

As students are transferred to a more individual method of studying, through online means. The pandemic has left students with a catch-22. How productive students are with their study time has never been more important as we are undergoing “The biggest experiment in distance learning in the history of education”.

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At the University of Wollongong, BCM212 requires students to undergo a research project the involves the cohort. There is no denying that the weather has a well-defined influence on human emotions, habits, and conscious exertion of power. Relating this to the BCM212 cohort, I propose a question.

In what way does the weather effect productivity during study session?

To avoid the omni-comprehensiveness of that question, information will be gathered on what type of weather students believed benefited their productivity most, and what emotions were evoked in the course of the different weather types. The research findings will link productivity to the latter, whereas the former will be used as a means of curating information and developing a case study.

The rigour of this research project will give the stakeholders a sound understanding of the relationships between the conscious exertion of power and unconscious environmental influences on emotion. With the former being our dependant variable: Productivity. Research on the relationships between weather and mood and in relation mood and learning comes in abundance, giving this research topic plenty of sources to refer to for a timely research project.

I polled two queries on twitter to build a broad idea of what students thought and how my research could commence. Though these are not the final statistics, the first poll indicates we can expect roughly 62% of students to strongly believe the weather has an influence on their study. However, results from the second poll denied definitive information on the type of weather students truly desired, with nothing receiving over 50% of the votes. The results from the first poll leads me to believe there is information that makes my research achievable.

Research so far

In the International Journal of Biometeorology, written by Anthony G. Branston are the ideas explored in my topic. In the journal It was noticed that, at a small degree, the weather influenced moods and productivity in a study conducted over a period of six weeks. The qualitative data collected involved 62 people from Illinois, the majority which consisted of university students (Branston 1988, p. 134). Despite the fact a large percentage of the people were students, this was not represented fairly in the results of the study. This due to the psychologically trouble people and the crisis intervention services influencing the outcomes.

“Weather was found to be a significant predictor of changes in the majority of mood dimensions studied” (Howarth & Hoffman 1984, p.20). The former, a statement from findings I will refer to during my research task. Coming from the British Journal of Psychology. Over 11 consecutive days, 24 males were involved in a multidimensional study that including eight different weather variables (Howarth & Hoffman 1984, p.15). The Chapter “A multidimensional approach to relationships between mood and weather explores” draws information from a variety of creditable sources. Despite this chapter being a quantitative study, the information can will help better understand the relationships between weather and mood.

Originally, I began to explore “Ambient Temperature Effects on Paired Associate Learning” however due to the study’s high male representation this research could skew the conclusion of my project, which oppositely, is not constricted to one sex. With too much emphasis on verbal learning the source in relation to my research topic was not rigorous enough. The information from learning aspect of the chapter could have advanced the pedagogy findings from the research.

Although not university students understanding classroom behaviour can help contrast individual learning. Alternatively, HVAC&R Research’ research article “The Effects of Moderately Raised Classroom Temperatures and Classroom Ventilation Rate on the Performance of Schoolwork by Children” discovered, as heat was raise outside the children became more productive and task were completed at an increased rate. The source explains that “avoiding elevated temperatures would improve educational attainment” (Wargocki & Wyon 2007, p.193).

References:

Allen, MA & Fischer, GJ 1978, ‘Ambient temperature effects on paired associate learning*’, Ergonomics, vol 21, no. 2, pp. 95–101.<https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00140137808931700&gt;

Barnston, AG 1988, ‘The effect of weather on mood, productivity, and frequency of emotional crisis in a temperate continental climate’, International Journal of Biometeorology, vol. 32, pp. 134–143. (1988). <https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01044907&gt;

Howard, E & Hoffman, MS 1984, ‘A multidimensional approach to the relationship between mood and weather’, British Journal of Psychology, vol. 75, pp. 15-23.<Briiainhttps://bpspsychub.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.2044-8295.1984.tb02785.x?casa_token=FqvBqCXy30UAAAAA%3AkihsJ1-QMsm53rBFkuw0K55zFTrHIIBA_YJ-7JRpF5pK-3HFXcSxYuIDhy9Bo3dpvEK3LD35UWktWA>

Keller, MC, Fredrickson BL, Ybarra, O, Côté, S, Johnson, K, Mikels, J, Conway, A & Wager, T 2005, ‘A Warm Heart and a Clear Head: The Contingent Effects of Weather on Mood and Cognition’, Psychological science, vol. 16, no. 9, pp. 724–731. <https://uow.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/discovery/fulldisplay?docid=cdi_proquest_miscellaneous_68551547&context=PC&vid=61UOW_INST:ALMA&lang=en&search_scope=MyInst_and_CI&adaptor=Primo%20Central&tab=Everything&query=any,contains,weather%20and%20mood&mode=basic>

Wargocki, P & Wyon DP 2007, ‘The Effects of Moderately Raised Classroom Temperatures and Classroom Ventilation Rate on the Performance of Schoolwork by Children (RP-1257)’ Hvac&R Research, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 193–220. <doi:10.1080/10789669.2007.10390951.>

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