Following on from my previous post querying whether windy weather affects the behaviour of kids, the nerd in me took over to see whether there was any evidence on this topic.
(NB: you can’t use ‘wind and children’ in a search term unless you want to read lots about farts…)
Firstly, the not-so-scientific explanations out there.
This is what you get when you search “child behaviour and windy weather” using Google.
- “Because they’re indoors and see it as their mission to systematically wreck the house”
- “It makes them psychotic”
That parent is obviously having a tough day.
Some more (plausible) explanations:
- “Dry winds cause positively charged ions in the air which leads to irritable behaviour”
- “Slight low-frequency atmospheric oscillations can influence human mental activity, especially low barometric pressure, which is associated with an increase in impulsive behaviours”
- “Windy days bring forth excitement from the child… it may simply be a release of adrenaline”
In the literature:
- Effect of wind on child activity: researchers at Auckland University of Technology strapped pedometers to over one thousand Auckland children to see the effects of weather on their physical activity. They found that while there was an increase in activity with warmer temperature and also on weekends, the effect of wind speed on child activity was trivial or unclear.
- Effect of wind on disruptive behaviour: another study carried out in the UK looked at possible correlations between weather and student disruptive incidents, and found that it is not so much the particular stable weather conditions on any one day, but rather the sudden changes in weather that may be predictive of pupil disturbance.
- Relationship between air pressure and wind: low pressure in the atmosphere leads to windy conditions (read on here for a detailed explanation on “Air Pressure & Wind”). I just did and I think my brain imploded. The main thing I got was “winds are directed towards low pressure which results in bad weather”. OK, got it.
- Relationship between ions in the air and behaviour: the populations most sensitive to ions in the air include children, the elderly, the chronically ill and the chronically stressed. Ionising winds exist, which are typically hot and dry, which result in more positively charged ions in the atmosphere. These positively charged ions cause children (and people in general) to behave badly, and this is thought to be due to the retention of greater amounts of lead and nickel. Adults (supposedly) have great control over their emotions, so the craziness is not so evident with them as it is with kids.
There is actually not a whole lot of literature out there discussing the effect of windy weather on child behaviour. Obviously
1. Researchers are childless
2. Those that are not are too exhausted by psychotic wind-induced child behaviour to do any study on the topic
3. The effect of windy weather on child behaviour has no direct effect on the cost-of-oil-per-barrel-military-invasions-war-panda-who-knows-how-to-make-coffee, therefore no one cares.
Bottom line: there is some scientific evidence to support the ‘child + windy day = crazy times’ theory… ‘The wind’ is not a myth 🙂
Duncan JS, Hopkins WG, Schofield G, Duncan EK. Effects of weather on pedometer-determined physical activity in children. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Aug;40(8):1432-8.
B Badger, E O’Hare. Disruptive Behaviour and Weather Patterns in a West Cumbria Secondary School. British Educational Research Association. 1989 Feb:15(1):89-94.