There is one. A Psychology of Christmas, that is. Here I am over at TheJournal.ie going on about it, as usual:
In the 1930s, US President Calvin Coolidge made the following observation on the annual yuletide festivities: “Christmas is not a time nor a season,” he said, “but a state of mind.”
For sure, Christmas affects the human mind in many ways, capable of stimulating joy, nostalgia, excitement, trepidation, and stress – occasionally all at the same time. It is little surprise to learn, then, that behavioural science has produced voluminous research into the human side of Christmas.
At the time of writing, a standard Google search for the ‘Psychology of Christmas’ yields approximately 126 million results. Even Google Scholar gives us 200,000. There is much to cover.
Perhaps the best starting point is to remember that Christmas is one of the most psychological of human festivals, in that it echoes the visceral terror of darkness that characterised humanity’s earliest experiences of winter.
There’s plenty more where that came from. Make sure you go read the rest of the piece here.
It’s a taster for a public lecture I am giving tonight in Trinity. I believe tickets are all sold out, but nonetheless here is the info.
Dublin seems really Christmassy right now. Tonight, for sure, it will be even more Christmassy…
Brian Hughes is an academic psychologist and university professor in Galway, Ireland, specialising in stress, health, and the application of psychology to social issues. He writes widely on the psychology of empiricism and of empirically disputable claims, especially as they pertain to science, health, medicine, and politics.