Every year, it seems, some fool in the press reprints a story about the third Monday of January being the most depressing day of the year. I’ve seen a couple of stories referencing this today but, more hearteningly, I also saw Dr Dean Burnett’s blistering response in The Guardian.
This silly claim comes from a ludicrous equation that calculates “debt”, “motivation”, “weather”, “need to take action” and other arbitrary variables that are impossible to quantify and largely incompatible.
The equation, which was dreamt up by Dr Cliff Arnall (not a Cardiff University psychologist) for a travel firm is meaningless. Fine, if it was just a bit of harmless fun – or an excuse to post a YouTube video – but Dr Burnett does raise a good point:
I believe strongly that pseudoscience (like this equation) regularly presented as genuine science in the mainstream media harms the public understanding of science and psychology.
The rest of the article is well worth a read but first… Here’s a video.