Some of the “scientific” studies being publicized these days seem decidedly . . . unscientific. For example, a recent study by scientists in Budapest concluded that the season in which you were born has some influence on your adult personality.
The scientists took 400 people and tried to match their personalities to their birth season. They determined that people born in the summer are more likely to experience mood swings, people born in the winter are less likely to be irritable, people born during the fall months are less likely to be depressed, and people born in the spring are more likely to be relentlessly positive. Why might there be some significance to your birth season? The scientists say the seasons may affect the body’s production of certain mood-related substances, such as serotonin and dopamine.
Four hundred people seems like a pretty small sample to draw sweeping conclusions about a previously undiscovered relationship between birth season and mood, and if sampling is done incorrectly it’s easy to mistake correlation for causation. Having known people with birthdays throughout the year, I haven’t noticed any connection between birth date and bitchiness. In my family, all of the five kids were born in the spring and early summer, and our personality types vary pretty wildly, from sunny optimist to gloomy gus.
And how do you account for the undoubted impact of life lessons on personality? You could be a positive spring baby, but live for decades as a Cleveland sports fans and you’ll soon shed that cock-eyed optimist for relentless, crushing pessimism. Budapest scientists can’t possibly understand the well-known Cleveland sports effect on mood. If all of those summer babies grow up to be Browns fans, it’s bound to skew the results.