Researchers from Budapest, Hungary are presenting a study which links birth season with temperament. The study shows that people born at certain times of year may have a greater chance of developing certain types of affective temperaments, which in turn can lead to mood disorders (affective disorders).
Now, I must offer full disclosure here. I mean no disrespect, but, I am a big skeptic when it comes to anything labeled holistic or “New Age.” I am a huge skeptic regarding astrology, ear candling, herbal solutions to treat mental disorders, biorhythms, and reading auras. While I think yoga is an excellent form of exercise and meditation, I do not know where my chakras are, but I don’t think they hold certain aspects of my personality or mood – that is what my brain is for.
Even as a practicing Buddhist who meditates, chants and tries to live by the ideals of the Eight-fold Path, I’m skeptical about some of the beliefs. I do not believe in bodhisattvas (a person who has attained Enlightenment, but purposely doesn’t attain Nirvana in order to help others to attain Enlightenment), and my belief in reincarnation is sketchy at best. Even the researcher’s press release mentions the connection between the study’s results and its connection with myths,
Seasons of birth have traditionally been associated with certain personality traits, such as novelty seeking, and various folklore justifications, such as astrology, have sought to explain these associations.
According to lead researcher, Assistant Professor Xenia Gonda:
Biochemical studies have shown that the season in which you are born has an influence on certain monoamine neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, which is detectable even in adult life. This led us to believe that birth season may have a longer-lasting effect. Our work looked at over 400 subjects and matched their birth season to personality types in later life. Basically, it seems that when you are born may increase or decrease your chance of developing certain mood disorders.
Commenting for the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Professor Eduard Vieta (Barcelona) said:
Seasons affect our mood and behavior. Even the season at our birth may influence our subsequent risk for developing certain medical conditions, including some mental disorders. What’s new from this group of researchers is the influence of season at birth and temperament. Temperaments are not disorders but biologically-driven behavioral and emotional trends. Although both genetic and environmental factors are involved in one’s temperament, now we know that the season at birth plays a role too. And the finding of “high mood” tendency (hyperthymic temperament) for those born in summer is quite intriguing.
Do I hope there is something to this? You bet your ass. I fully support any study that could lead to easing or erasing the pain so many of us live with. However, hope is as far as I can go. I’m not optimistic that this study could lead to anything. I just found it amusing.
What do you think? Am I too skeptical? Do you think they may be onto something?