The biopsychology of the weather matrix: An evaluation of psychomotor behavior and mood states as a function of ionization polarity and cognitive-personality dimensions
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While the science of biometeorology has refined our understanding of the effects of weather on the body's regulatory systems, until recently little scientific attention was given to the role of weather in altering mood states and reaction time. The present investigation was an effort to substantiate the serotonin-activation model advanced by Charry. This model predicts that short-term exposure to positive ions will result in significant though short-lived changes in reticular activation. Hence, a person so exposed would display accelerated vigilance decrement, slower reaction times, irritability, and greater fatigue, It was hypothesized that negative ions would exert opposite effects. With N = 24, a repeated-measures factorial design was utilized in order to assess simultaneously the relationships between extraversion-introversion, field dependence-independence and ion polarity/concentration on performance, and self-report of fatigue, tension, depression, vigor, confusion, and anger. Analysis of variance on the outcome data revealed that contrary to the experimental hypotheses, both positive and negative ionization induced higher self-ratings of depression. There was no clear-cut relationship between standing on the subject dimensions and behavior under ionization conditions. However, a significant ionization x vigilance period interaction for siraple reaction time data emerged, as predicted. When the data for weather sensitivity were examined (weather sensitives respond with changes in serotonin metabolism as a function of ionization) significant weather sensitivity x ionization and weather sensitivity x ionization x vigilance period interactions emerged. Weather sensitivity was a fair predictor of vigilance performance and self-report of affect. Despite the number of non-significant findings, some data supported the relationship between weather sensitivity and performance under ionization levels. However, the weather sensitivity dimension did not tap sensitivity to air electricity. On balance, the data did not provide consistent or robust support for the ionization model..