I'm wondering if the human brain "predicts" how certain weeks of the year should feel?

For example, a child who is going to school may have a more positive affect in anticipation of summer holidays, and may feel more negatively towards the end of the summer, as he/she knows that freedom and fun are about to end.

Another example may be siblings' or parents' birthdays, where the anticipation of the birthday increases positive affect.

I'm wondering if year after year of such patterns (in childhood, the teenage years and maybe young adolescence) can create an association in the brain between positive/negative affect and the specific time of the year, or specific photoperiod duration (day length). What I'm trying to understand is, if a pattern of such ups and downs that may have been established in the childhood persists throughout adulthood?

Have there been any studies that looked at the previous life history and incidence of mania/depression episodes in bipolar disorder, or the onset of depression in Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD), and correlated them with holidays, birthdays, etc? I've read that SAD may manifest a depression in any season, not just winter, which got me thinking of the possible causes.


1 Answer 1


I found the term "holiday anniversary memory triggers" on a popular psychology website. It clusters a lot of symptoms together:


  • $\begingroup$ This seems to also have been covered under PTSD as well, according to the national center for PTSD: ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/essentials/…. $\endgroup$
    – Psychm
    Mar 24, 2021 at 2:11
  • $\begingroup$ Noting the "anniversary reaction", which was hypothesized by Hilgard and Newman (1961) but, the article indicates parental death as the genesis of the mental illness. Hilgard, J. R., & Newman, M. F. (1961). Evidence for Functional Genesis in Mental Illness: Schizophrenia, Depressive Psychoses, and Psychoneuroes. The Journal of nervous and mental disease, 132(1), 3-16. $\endgroup$
    – Psychm
    Mar 24, 2021 at 2:22

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