Often, nothing sounds better than sitting around a cozy warm fire with family and friends at the end the day, but it turns out, our enjoyment from fire comes from human evolution. Studies done from Christopher Lynn, a PhD at the University of Alabama, suggest that our love of sitting around a fire is evolutionary. Stone age humans relied on fire for light, protection, heat, cooking, hunting, and also social cohesion as the campfire brought relaxation and enhanced prosocial behavior.
The study evaluated the blood pressure of 226 adults before and after experiencing a simulation of a fire including flickering light and crackling sounds. The results showed a decrease in blood pressure, a response that Lynn attributes to evolution. When those exposed to the fire complete with sound for 15 min, their systolic blood pressure dropped on average by 6 points and their diastolic blood pressure dropped by 3. Having a fireplace or fire pit now provides you with health benefits in addition to a complete home and a place to gather with friends.
Humans may have evolved to find fire relaxing as it was a primal way to manage stress and conflict, and "anything that’s going to help us manage or balance that conflict is going to be selected for, to use evolutionary terms," says Lynn. Next time you are sitting around your fire, thank your ancestors for passing along their fire-loving genes. This study was published in the journal of Evolutionary Physchology Source from article in Men's Health