A rainy day can ruin a restaurant review, a study shows

Who cares that the fastest way to the heart is through the stomach. How did it taste on the way? A new study released by Georgia Tech and Yahoo Labs researchers says it probably depended on the weather.

The study looked at more than a million online reviews for more than 800,000 restaurants in more than 32,000 cities nationwide, and the results reveal that restaurant reviews written on extremely hot or extremely cold days were more negative than those written on fair-weather days.

And that’s covering a decade worth of reviews from sites like Foursquare, Citysearch and TripAdvisor.

“Science has shown that weather impacts our mood, so a nice day can lead to a nice review. A rainy day can mean a miserable one,” said Saeideh Bakhshi, a Georgia Tech Ph.D. candidate who led the study.

According to the findings as outlined in the Georgia Tech news release:

“Research shows that pleasant weather improves mood and memory and broadens cognitive performance, thinking and judgement. Low levels of humidity and high levels of sunlight are associated with high mood. Demographics of a region have been associated with people’s spending time online. … In this paper, we ask the question: might these phenomena documented in psychology studies also affect1 large-scale online behavior? Could weather and local demographics of restaurants drive how we rate them online?”

Lindsey Bever is a national news reporter for The Washington Post. She writes for the Morning Mix news blog. Tweet her: @lindseybever
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