Feeling blue, or yellow or green? Test your mood in a unique experiment!

The people of Manchester – including University staff and students – are being encouraged to take part in a unique and exciting experiment to test, and perhaps influence, the mood of the city.

The Great Manchester Health Experiment, taking place on Wednesday, 14 September, will use the Manchester Colour Wheel – devised by University researchers Dr Helen Carruthers and Professor Peter Whorwell in the School of Transational Medicine – to measure the happiness of the city’s population.

Organised by the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC) – a partnership between the University and six Greater Manchester NHS organisations – the Experiment is being supported by Manchester United and Manchester City football clubs, the City Council and the I Love MCR campaign, to name but a few.

The idea behind the Experiment is simple. Next Wednesday at 9am, the city’s populace will be asked to register their mood based on a colour within the Wheel. Particpants will then be asked to carry out an activity they normally wouldn’t do during the day to improve the way they feel, such as exercise, meet up with old friends, have a sing or a dance, and at 3pm register their mood again using the Colour Wheel.

Professor Whorwell explains: “The Colour Wheel is a very quick and simple way of gauging someone’s mood by relating it to a colour. It saves having to fill in complicated questionnaires and overcomes any communication problems that might be associated with foreign languages or responding to possibly embarrassing questions relating to how you feel. It might also be very useful in children and we are planning on looking at this as part of the Experiment.”

The results from the Experiment will be turned into a mural, a sculpture, a ballet and a musical composition, which will be unveiled at a concert at MediaCity:UK on Friday, 9 December. Everyone who takes part will be entered into a draw to win tickets for the concert.

“The Great Manchester Health Experiment aims to encourage public participation in health and well-being activities, promote understanding of the importance of health research, and encorage support for population-based clinical trials,” says Professor Ian Jacobs, Director of MAHSC and Dean of the University’s Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences.

“Parts of Greater Manchester have the worst life expectancy rates in the country, but the good news is that our city also has some of the best medical and scientific researchers in the world working at The University of Manchester and our MAHSC partners within the NHS.

“But we need the help of local people if we are going to turn scientific discoveries in our laboratories into the medicines of the future to help cure diseases, like cancer, diabetes and heart disease, and generally improve the health of people, not only in Greater Manchester, but across the world.”

As well as the Experiment itself, there are many more activities taking place on the day in Manchester city centre’s Exchange Square and Albert Square.

Dr Linda Magee OBE, Chief Operating Officer of MAHSC, added: “This is a fun idea with a serious message, but what we hope is that MAHSC – the only such government-backed health partnership outside the South East of England – will have engaged with tens of thousands of people in Greater Manchester who will better understand the importance of scientific and medical research and what this partnership is trying to do to improve the health and well-being of everyone within our community and beyond.”

If you would like learn more and take part in the Experiment on 14 September, you should register your interest online at:

You will be notified by email when you are required to register your mood.

Further information will also be published and broadcast through the Great Manchester Health Experiment’s media partners, the Manchester Evening News, Key 103 and the BBC.


Notes for editors

Media enquiries to:

Aeron Haworth
Media Relations
The University of Manchester

Tel: 0161 275 8383
Mob: 07717 881563
Email: aeron.haworth@manchester.ac.uk