There's an upside to feeling down when the weather is gloomy: your memory is far more accurate than it is on bright and sunny days, a new UNSW study suggests.

Researchers from the School of Psychology made the surprise finding in an unobtrusive study carried out in a suburban newsagency in Sydney.

The results, published recently in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, point to a growing body of evidence that the way people think, the quality of their judgments and the accuracy of their memory are all significantly influenced by positive and negative moods.

"It seems counter-intuitive but a little bit of sadness turns out to be a good thing," said team leader, Scientia Professor Joe Forgas.

"People performed much better on our memory test when the weather was unpleasant and they were in a slightly negative mood. On bright sunny days, when they were more likely to be happy and carefree, they flunked it."

Professor Forgas said the influence of mood states on the accuracy of real-life memories is still poorly understood.

Read the full story on the Faculty of Science website.

Media Contacts: Professor Joe Forgas | Bob Beale, Faculty of Science | 0411 705 435 |