Working week mood swings a 'myth'; researchersby Rich Bowden - Jul 2 2008, 05:21
Image: Calendar. Credit: *SMILING PUG*/flickr
Monday morning blues and Friday afternoon highs are largely a myth created by society than based in fact says a University of Sydney researcher.
"Day-of-the-week stereotypes like Monday morning blues and 'Thank God It's Friday' (TGIF) are largely illusions," said Professor Charles Areni, from the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Sydney.
"When people are asked to remember how they felt in recent weeks past, or to predict how they will feel during the upcoming week, people remember and predict being bummed out on Monday mornings and really happy on Friday evenings," he said.
However in a detailed study of 351 people's moods over a week, the stereotypes did not appear, with Wednesday - not Monday - showing as the lowest point in the week.
"Monday mornings were not the low point of the week, and although Friday and Saturday evenings were associated with positive moods, they were no better than moods reported on Tuesdays," said Professor Areni. "What we found is that actual moods don't seem to vary systematically throughout the week. As it turned out, the low point of the week in our data was Wednesday, not Monday."
Prof Areni says we expect Monday to be depressing and Friday happy because society has taught us to respond in accordance to the proximity of the weekend.
"Monday morning is remembered and predicted to be the worst part of the week because it is the first work day after two days of free time, and because four work days follow before the next period of free time," he said.
"Likewise, Friday evening is the best part of the week because it marks the beginning of an extended period of free time," Professor Areni said.
He says this has more to do with cultural belief than reality.