Ever forgotten what day it is? / Rex

In comparison, the middle of the week tends to merge into a blur

Ever wondered why you forget what day of the week it is? Researchers may have found the answer.

A study conducted by researchers at the universities of York, Lincoln and Hertfordshire found that while Monday and Friday have strong identities, days in the middle of the week often ‘blur’ by comparison and thus are easier to forget.

More than 1,000 people were asked what mental associations each day of the week held.

The results showed Monday was associated with negative words, such as ‘boring’ or ‘hectic’, while participants identified positive words such as ‘party’ and ‘freedom’ with Friday.

In both cases participants had a higher number of mental associations, or representations, attached to Monday and Friday than non-descript mid-week days.

Lead researcher Dr David Ellis, from the University of Lincoln’s School of Psychology, said that “more than a third of participants reported that the current day felt like a different day, and most of those feelings were on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, reflecting the midweek dip in associations attached to different days.”

More than 40 per cent of those surveyed confused a preceding day with the present, with the majority making the mistake mid-week.

When researchers asked participants what day it was, those surveyed were able to recall whether it was a Monday or a Friday twice as quickly as mid-week days.

Researchers also claimed the “entirely human construct” of the seven-day week – and peoples’ strong mental representations of the beginning and end of the week – had contributed to the social phenomenon known as ‘Blue Monday’.

They noted on Mondays that “heart attack risk is higher, suicide rate is higher, reported mood is lower, and stock returns are lower.”

Findings such as these, researchers claimed, indicated that “Mondays (and possibly Fridays) may be qualitatively different from the other days of the week”.

However, a second pattern from the results, which found a gradually mood improvement in the course of the week, suggested that rather than being “qualitatively different”, Monday and Friday were instead the extremes on a “continuum of change.”