As someone who resides in Montreal, I am intimately familiar with the ways by which weather affects the rhythms of daily life. As a general rule, the city slows down during the long cold winter, which leads to an overabundance of summer festivities to compensate for the winter cocooning. In one of my earlier posts, I discussed the effects of weather on consumer spending (see here). In today’s post, I describe a forthcoming study in the journal Social Influence that explored the extent to which women might offer their phone numbers to a male stranger as a function of whether the approach is made on a sunny or cloudy day. The postulated mechanism to explain the effect is the link between nice weather and positive mood. In other words, when the weather is nice, women might be more receptive to male advances by virtue of their better moods (as influenced by the sunshine).
The study in question was conducted Nicolas Guéguen, a French psychologist who seems to have cornered the market on works that identify variables that affect a man’s likelihood of picking a woman including her breast size, the color of shirt (red) that she is wearing, what he is wearing (fireman uniform), her menstrual cycle, background music, whether she is wearing makeup, whether he is walking with a dog, and more generally the likelihood of women accepting male solicitations for casual sex. Pick-up artists: Make sure to read Dr. Guéguen’s work! The hyperlinks above refer to my previous posts wherein I discuss the studies in question.
Returning to today’s study, five attractive male confederates were tasked to approach 500 women (in total) walking alone on either a sunny or cloudy day. The study was conducted between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm when the external temperature varied between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius. Rainy days were avoided. The male confederates were instructed to state the following when approaching a woman:
“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.”
The dependent variable was the number of times that women accepted the solicitation as a function of the weather (sunny or cloudy day). Irrespective of a woman’s response, the male confederate asked for her age.
Key findings: Using a binary logistic regression, both the weather (p = .016) and the age of the approached woman (p = .05) yielded significant coefficients. Specifically, women were more likely to accept solicitations on sunny days (22.4% and 13.9% on sunny and cloudy days respectively), and they were more likely to do so if they were younger.
Since we are discussing the effects of weather in this post, I’d like to share with you the harrowing travel ordeal that I experienced last week in Texas. I was scheduled to give two talks at Texas Tech University on Monday February 25th, a talk at UT-Austin on Tuesday February 26th, and another talk at Texas A&M on Wednesday February 27th. The logistics to set up such a trip were quite complex and had taken several weeks to finalize. Due to a one-inch accumulation of snow in Lubbock, Texas Tech shut down its operations on the day of my scheduled talks, and as a result of a domino effect of improbable events (including mechanical problems with a plane), all four of my scheduled talks were canceled. So, the weather can increase your chances to pick up women but it can also cause you to spend three days in Lubbock, Texas going through your own version of Groundhog Day.
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