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How Moods Are Affected by the Sun

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How Moods Are Affected by the Sun

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  • October 1999
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How Moods Are Affected By The Sun

Jared Sousa
1/20/96
Descriptive Research

Thesis: The amount of sun people receive affects their mood.

A young woman lies asleep on a cold, overcast winter morning. At 4 A.M., a faint incandescence radiates from a light bulb placed near her bed. The light gradually gains intensity and covers until 6 A.M., when the woman awakes. She had just experienced a simulated dawn of a new day. After being treated with this for several days, the woman's annual winter depression slowly goes away. Does this mean that the less sun you get the worse you feel, or perhaps the more you get the better your mood? It is very possible that you may feel this way as millions of people worldwide have experienced it first-hand. This phenomena is still sort of a mystery as many researchers don't completely understand why this happens. "It may be that certain individuals have inherited vulnerability that causes them to develop depression in the absence of exposure to sufficient environmental light"1. Frederick A. Cook, the arctic explorer, provided a vivid description of the effects of prolonged darkness on the human psyche: "The curtain of blackness which has overfallen the outer world has also descended upon the inner world of our souls," Cook wrote in his journal on May 16, 1898, "Around our tables . . . . men are sitting about sad and dejected lost in dreams of melancholy. For brief moments some try to break the spell by jokes, told perhaps for the 50th time. Others grind out a cheerful philosophy; but all efforts to infuse bright hopes fail."2 Some believe that light affects the body's ability to make serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps induce feelings of calm and well being. The eye's sensitivity may also play a part in sun/mood relations. A study was done to a group of people in the winter and summer. In the winter the many individuals experienced much more difficulty seeing dim light after sitting in the dark for a...

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