Evolutionary Psychology Tackles Physical/Mental Benefits of Fire | Patio & Hearth Products Report
TUSCALOOSA, AL – The warm glow and crackling sounds of fire can lower blood pressure, a response that University of Alabama researchers attribute to early humans’ primal reliance on flames for a variety of needs.
An abstract on PubMed states: “For early humans, fire likely extended the day, provided heat, helped with hunting, warded off predators and insects, illuminated dark places, and facilitated cooking.”
A formal study backs up the claims, with results indicating consistent blood pressure decreases in “fire-with-sound” conditions. “Findings confirm that hearth and campfires induce relaxation as part of a multisensory, absorptive, and social experience,” wrote Department of Antropology researchers from U of A.
The cozy data has been widely disseminated in the consumer press via outlets such as The Huffington Post, with post blogger Carolyn Gregoire declaring: “Our enjoyment of gazing at fire may be rooted in evolution, as the act of gathering around a fire dates back to prehistoric times…Campfires also may have provided social nexus and relaxation effects that could have enhanced prosocial behavior. According to this hypothesis, calmer, more tolerant people would have benefited in the social milieu via fireside interactions relative to individuals less susceptible to relaxation response.”