The four seasons of cognitive function
Does cognitive function change with the seasons? This question had never been properly investigated. In an Article published by the American journal PNAS, researchers at the University of Liege have been able to show that some brain function, at least, changes in keeping with the seasons. For tasks requiring attention, brain activity is maximal in June, around the time of the summer solstice, and is minimal in December near the time of the winter solstice; for executive tasks (short-term memory), brain activity is maximal around the time of the autumn equinox (September) and is minimal around the time of the spring equinox (March).
Loss of bearings
But what happens at a cognitive level? Not only do we have no data on animals in this regard, but, in addition, the studies on humans are very rare and focussed almost exclusively on the P300 event related to attention and cognition. These electroencephalographic studies yielded contradictory results with regard to the influence of the seasons on certain cognitive functions.
(1) Formerly, the Cyclotron Research Centre (CRC).