According to this article, entitled “Sniffle-Busting Personalities: Positive mood guards against getting colds”, a test study indicated that people with positive moods are less likely to have colds than those with negative moods. Sounds plausible. Their explanation? Positive emotions stimulate symptom-fighting substances. Now call me a half-baked moron, but here’s a completely different interpretation for the observed correlations – people with colds are more likely to have negative emotions. In fact, looking back, I think I can say in all honesty that on 100% of the occasions I’ve had a cold, I felt negative emotions. It’s not the correlation that is doubtful in my mind, just the direction of causality. Am I being obtuse here?
This one definitely goes in the dubious research category.
One thought on “Don’t worry, be happy”
That’s an interesting interpretation of the research. Although, they looked at the mood of the test subjects for two weeks, then they gave them a cold.
Of course, one could say that people who are more prone to getting colds will be unhappier in general, thus reversing the arrow of causality. Maybe they could give colds to happy people on a regular basis. But then, how do you avoid pissing them off and creating those negative emotions?