Does the Weather Help us Fall in Love?
The Time of Year and Temperature Play a Part in Helping Us Find a Mate
Friday, February 14th, 2014 — “When all is said and done, the weather and love are the two elements about which one can never be sure.” Alice Hoffman
Today is the day for lovers, Valentines Day! I have always wondered if weather played a part in two people falling in love. I have always thought that is you find the right person, it did not matter what time of year it was or what the weather at the time was like. After doing some research, it turns out there may be some science and psychology associated with the weather ,the season and falling in love. In today’s “Weather Talk” I found out that there is a chemical produced in our brains during the spring months that makes us feel in love and there are psychological factors in fall. Which is it? You can decide for yourself.
Time of year plays a big part in planning a wedding. I would start off with some wedding time of year statistics from the US Census Bureau;
June is the most popular month for weddings, then August, followed by September and October
Here’s a monthly breakdown:
January 4.7% July 9.7%
February 7.0% August 10.2%
March 6.1% September 9.6%
April 7.4% October 9.4%
May 9.8% November 7.4%
June 10.8% December 7.8%
• The top wedding city in the world is Istanbul, Turkey with 166,000 for the year. I looked at the weather averages and found out that the nice, pleasant climate must play a part. July is the hottest month in Istanbul with an average temperature of 74.3º F (23.5°C) and the coldest is February at 5.5°C (41.9°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 10 in August. The wettest month is January with an average of 100mm of rain. The best month to swim in the sea is in August when the average sea temperature is 22°C (71.6°F) No wonder people want to get married there!
• Las Vegas, Nevada is in second place with 114,000 weddings. The weather is too hot in the summer, but the weather does not really matter. The excitement of gambling and having fun makes people excited about falling in love!
What time of year do we fall in love?
I did some research and I found two professors at Rutgers University one a neuroscientist and the other an anthropologist, with two different times of year and two different reasons for why we fall in love. MPR, Minnesota Public Radio, interviewed Helen Fischer, a neuroscientist, professor at Rutgers University and author of five books on the science of love. She says "its dopamine," Fisher says dopamine is a naturally occurring chemical your brain uses to make you want things. There are other systems involved in love, but when it comes to new love, dopamine is the main culprit. And with enough of it swirling around your system, you're prone to fall in love -- and fall hard.
What does this have to do with spring? Dopamine is triggered by novel experiences.
"And there's so much novelty in the spring," said Fischer. "There is so much more color, new smells, people take their clothes off and you can see more of them. And so there are a lot of new stimuli that trigger the brain and drive up dopamine, and make you more susceptible to love."
This seems to make sense, when the temperatures start to warm, March & April, your brain produces extra dopamine. This dopamine makes you fall in love with everything. Your brain wants more! You are on a dopamine high, you are euphoric and that is what happens when we are in love.
Match.com interviewed anthropologist Helen Fisher, Ph.D., a researcher at Rutgers University and author of Why We Love; The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love. Fisher says, “Biologically, fall is a logical time to fall in love,” Procreation plays a key role: Human beings are motivated to mate in the fall so babies will be born in summer, explains Dr. Fisher. “It’s an adaptive mechanism,” Fisher explains. “Summer is a time of plenty, a time of less stress, high nutrition and comfortable weather.” Even if you’re not planning on procreating in the months ahead, at a deep and primal level, we’re driven to couple up, perhaps for keeps. We all realize it’s time to stop fooling around. “Summer is a time when we’re off, we’re traveling, we’re not part of our communities,” says Dr. Fisher. “But in fall we come back to our settled lives, get on with the important affairs of living. We’re in a position to make a long-term commitment now.”
Fall heralds the start of the holidays, and nobody wants to spend that time alone. “Christmas is the most profound festival in the Western world, I think, but there were midwinter festivals throughout the last 10,000 years of our agriculture heritage,” Dr. Fisher points out. “It’s the one that we all share—and it’s a time of family, of making connections. It’s not a time of short-term attachments but of building the real, solid relationships that the brain seeks.”
I think people go out less in the cold season they are home keeping warm if they are single. Of course, maybe the opposite could be said; single people could be out searching for a mate to keep them warm!
The dopamine argument does make sense to me, that euphoric feeling is felt by us all. I guess that may play a part in why many mammals, birds, etc... mate in the springtime. I also agree with Dr. Fisher about how we get serious in autumn, we go back to school; we shed our summer clothes and dress in more professional and serious attire. We also look for a mate for the upcoming holidays, ok maybe some of us.
Let me know what time of year you fell in love and did weather play a part? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I think maybe I will do my own research and I will write another “Weather Talk” letting you know what I found out.
If you have love, I wish for that love to keep growing stronger. If you are still searching, I wish you all the best and much success! Just think, spring is just around the corner!
Happy Valentines Day!