It is no secret that weather affects mood, and even behavior. The Bagel Man we wrote about in Freakonomics, who ran an honor-system business, received lower payments during foul weather. Now along come Donald Redelmeier and Simon D. Baxter from the University of Toronto with an interesting question: do applicants to medical school suffer if they happen to be interviewed on a rainy day? Redelmeier and Baxter looked at the data for nearly 3,000 applicants over a six-year period. The result:
Overall, those interviewed on rainy days received about a 1 percent lower score than those interviewed on sunny days (average score 16.31 v. 16.49, p = 0.042). This pattern was consistent for both senior interviewers (16.39 v. 16.55, p = 0.08) and junior interviewers (16.23 v. 16.42, p = 0.041). We next used logistic regression to analyze subsequent admission decisions. The difference in scores was equivalent to about a 10 percent lower total mark on the Medical College Admission Test.