Written by Taylor Ritchey
Cunningham (1979) found that how sunny it is outside significantly affected the gratuity that restaurant customers left for their server. Cunningham (1979) also found that sunny weather makes people more helpful. Participants who were asked to participate in a survey were more likely to comply on sunny days, when compared to compliance on cloudy days (Cunningham, 1979). In fact, sunny weather may also help people be accepted into college. Simonsohn (2007) examined university admission decisions and found that university administrators placed more weight on candidates' academic attributes when they were evaluated on cloudy days; whereas, they put more weight on nonacademic attributes on sunny days.
Tell me More, Tell Me More
In an experiment that was performed by Gueguen (2013), male undergraduate research assistants approached females and asked for their phone numbers. These interactions occurred in a town near the Atlantic coast of France on sunny days or on cloudy days, with average temperature being the same in both conditions. Confederates, who were rated as high in physical attractiveness and were blind to the hypothesis of the experiment, would approach the women and recite the following line: "Hello. My name’s Antoine. I just want to say that I think you’re really pretty. I have to go to work this afternoon, and I was wondering if you would give me your phone number. I’ll phone you later, and we can have a drink together someplace." If the women complied and provided their phone number, the confederates said, “See you soon.” If the women refused to provide their phone number, the confederates said, “Too bad. It’s not my day. Have a nice afternoon!’’ Gueguen (2013) found that the women were more likely to give the men their phone number when they were approached on sunny days.
You Better Shape Up
If you already have a partner, it may brighten both parties' moods to go on a date when the weather is bright and sunny too. The sun leads people to be more generous, more likely to get into college, and more likely to fall in love, so regarding social interactions, it may be best to wait for the perfect sunny day to take action.
Cunningham, M. R. (1979). Weather, mood, and helping behavior: Quasi experiments with the sunshine Samaritan. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 1947–1956.
Guéguen, N. (2013). Weather and courtship behavior: A quasi-experiment with the flirty sunshine. Social Influence, 8(4), 312-319.
Simonsohn, U. (2007). Clouds make nerds look good: Field evidence of the influence of incidental factors on decision making. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 20, 143–152.
Dr. H. Colleen Sinclair
Social Psychologist, Relationships Researcher,
Ms. Jessica Utley
Lab Manager of the Social Relations Collaborative and Blog Editor