Dr. Mareike Wieth has been teaching psychology at Albion College since 2005 and has participated in research on “optimum times of day.” She is interested in what it means to be a morning person or a night owl.
“[To test this] there were creative-type problems and there were problems that were more straight forward, like algebra problems or word problems,” Wieth said. “The creative problems are more like riddles, so you might look at it, come up with some ideas, and realize that they aren’t going to get you anywhere.”
Her study came to some interesting conclusions.
“My research found that morning people do better in the morning for tasks where they need to focus, but they do better in the evening on tasks where they have to think outside of the box, during the evening,” Wieth said. ” The reverse is true for evening people.”
Thinking and Reasoning published Wieth’s work. The journal usually picks a few studies and sends copies of it to other publications.
“My study got picked as one of the ones that they featured and I think that’s how BBC got a hold of it,” Wieth said. “And then it kind of caught on with bloggers and … I think that’s how the person at Men’s Health got a hold of it. Time never actually contacted me, they just wrote about it.”
The research was conducted during the end of her graduate studies at Michigan State University [MSU] and the beginning of her instruction at Albion College. Cam Harris, ’07 alumnus, participated in the research and presented it at a conference.
“One of my former advisors, Rose Zacks, is on the paper mostly because she let me use her resources,” Wieth said. “Her lab at MSU was the one that helped me collect the data and she gave me feedback on the paper. I kind of shifted the research completely to Albion because Rose is retired [now].”
In the future, she wants to start research on how the time of a class relates to students’ grades. This upcoming research may have effects on Albion students.
“If it’s a more creative class in the morning, do people do better?” Wieth said. “So, for example, I would like to know if evening indivuals do better in their creative classes – art, creative writing – if they are offered in the morning compared the afternoon [or] evening.
Photo Credit: Shad3z, Wikimedia Commons