A press release today reads: "A behavioral study conducted at Harvard University shows people feel more compassionate toward others, have less worry and anxiety, and feel less depressed when flowers are present in the home." Here is a link to the full text.
When I get things like this or read about them (usually in the WashPost Health section), my bullshit meter goes past 10.
Now I'm all for more flowers in the world and in people's homes, but really are these studies needed? My first reaction is, "Duh?" You spent money on this - I could've told you that and saved everyone the effort.
My second reaction is usually that the studies are greatly flawed in their viewpoint -- they are almost always looking at it from the wrong end. This particular study finding should be corrected to read: "People who are less worried, anxious, or depressed tend to buy more flowers and keep them in their homes." Having flowers does NOT make you happier, it is instead an indication of your level of happiness, ease, and contentment with the world. People who are depressed or anxious don't even THINK to buy flowers, while people who are well-adjusted may indulge themselves or loved ones with the gift of flowers.
These findings are ass-backwards. They did not prove that depressives are cured by flowers, only that nondepressive people have more flowers in their homes. There is no cause-effect shown here. You know what else?
If Harvard wants to throw away their money on worthless studies they can send a few bucks my way, I'll conduct a few of mine own and prove things like: "Ugly people are less popular (or as they would have put it: Pretty people are happier!)," "You can get sick from licking the floor (Non-floor-lickers are healthier!)," and how about this ground-breaker: "People with smelly homes have fewer visitors (Homes that smell good are more welcoming)." You think?!
How about it Harvard? I'll even give you some free blog space to promote these findings when they come out ;-).