Michael Schmitt, Email him, a Professor at Simon Fraser University on Canada's west coast, has done a psychological study that shows that Christmas displays harm the "emotional well-being" of non-celebrators, and make them "feel like they don't belong."
The article is Identity moderates the effects of Christmas displays on mood, self-esteem, and inclusion by Michael T. Schmitt, Kelly Davies , Mandy Hung and Stephen C. Wright, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2010, and the press release is Christmas displays have emotional consequences December 17, 2010. It says
Christmas displays can undermine the psychological well-being of people who do not celebrate the holiday, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.
"This research demonstrates that the pervasive presence of Christmas displays in December makes people who do not celebrate Christmas feel like they don't belong, and it harms their emotional well-being, " said SFU associate psychology professor Michael Schmitt.
The study was conducted by Schmitt, SFU psychology professor Stephen Wright, and SFU grads Kelly Davies and Mandy Hung. Their research was published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology in an article called, "Identity moderates the effects of Christmas displays on mood, self-esteem, and inclusion. "
Two experiments were conducted to examine the emotional consequences of being in the presence of a Christmas tree. SFU students were brought to a lab and randomly assigned to work in one of two rooms—one that had a 12-inch Christmas tree on a desk and one that didn't. The participants, who were not aware they were part of a study about the effects of Christmas trees, then completed a questionnaire about their mood.
As far as I'm concerned, the experiments proved, once again, that psychology students are mental. However, psych professors will continue to use them as subjects because, as the saying goes, "There are some things that a rat won't do."
You know what this reminds me of? The doll experiments used in Brown Vs. Board, about which Steve Sailer said
"The Supreme Court famously drew upon social science research in Brown v. Board of Education Granted, sociologist Kenneth B. Clark's experiments with dolls were primitive and turned out to be largely fallacious."
and in another blog item said
"As you may recall, the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision hinged in surprising proportion on an experiment done by sociologist Kenneth Clark in which black children tended to choose to play with (store-bought) white dolls over (home-made) black dolls, demonstrating (according to the Supreme Court's fearless interpretation) that segregated schools damaged black self-esteem."
As result, we got a path-breaking Supreme Court Decision, and a lot of grief. This little twelve-inch Christmas tree experiment could do the same kind of damage.