Obvious conclusions from obvious studies -- well, duh!
By Sam McManis
The Sacramento Bee
Published: Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010 - 12:00 am | Page 1I
Months of planning and hypothesizing presumably took place. Weeks of research compiled, numbers crunched, data analyzed. Days of rigorous revision to prepare for publication.
Finally, in this month's Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, a University of Rochester study revealed that …
People are happier on weekends.
The study got gussied up and slapped with a fancy, syndrome-like sobriquet, "The Weekend Effect." But essentially, it's telling us that we feel better and enjoy the freedom of weekends as opposed to the soul -crushing, punch-the-clock workweek.
To which many might say, "Well, duh!"
It's no revelation to followers of 1980s "big hair" bands who headbanged to Loverboy's "Working for the Weekend." But then, lead singer Mike Reno never had hard data to back up his claim. Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, does.
As Ryan explained in a news release, "Our findings highlight just how important free time is to an individual's well-being."
To which many might ask, "They get paid for studying that?"
Giving Ryan the benefit of the doubt, The Bee contacted him and tactfully asked, "Well, isn't this a tad obvious?" He replied via e-mail that "we were even more interested in why" people are happier on weekends.
Short answer: They don't have to work.
Oh, and this: "We were also identifying the time course of the WEE (weekend effect), showing that it begins Friday afternoon but sadly ends Sunday afternoon. As people anticipate the next day, mood goes down."
So maybe we're being a little harsh on this one study. It's not as if it stands alone in the annals of "Duh!" research. It's simply the latest example of academic and scientific exploration that confirms what sensible people already know.
• "People's Clothing Behavior According to External Weather and Indoor Environment," in the journal Building and Environment, 2007. Major finding: When it's cold, people wear more clothes.
• "Integrating Cues of Social Interest and Voice Pitch in Men's Preferences for Women's Voices," in Biology Letters, 2008. Major finding: Men are attracted to women who like them.
• "Characteristics Associated With Older Adolescents Who Have a Television in Their Bedrooms," in Pediatrics, 2008. Major finding: Teenagers with TVs in their room watch more TV.
• "Effects of Acute Alcohol Consumption on Ratings of Attractiveness of Facial Stimuli," in Alcohol and Alcoholism, 2008. Major finding: "Alcohol consumption increases ratings of attractiveness. … (It) can persist up to 24 hours after consumption, but only in male participants when rating female faces."