Science Questions

Why do people enjoy views?

Tue, 3rd Nov 2015

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show Electric Cars: Pollution Solution?


Eleanor asked:

Why do many people enjoy looking at views? Do we learn this socially or is it innate? Either way - why?


Rosalind Davies spoke to Michael Forster from the University of Vienna to find out.

Michael - In general, the enjoyment of a view comes from a reaction of the brainís reward centre. This kind of reaction can be triggered by a variety of factors including the interesting complexity that operates at early visual levels and also deeper processing stages so just memory.

Rosalind - I find looking at a view really soothing. Why is this the case?

Michael - The natural view demands very little of our attention and gives no reason for us to think about our everyday demands or worries. In other words, we are able to just let go and enjoy the scenery.

Rosalind - It helps us let go from the world around us. But listeners Rachel Jones and her husband reckon itís because it speaks to our inner explorer.

Michael - Another explanation especially for the enjoyment of views from mountain tops, vantage points is grounded in human evolution. Humans have been curious about the environment because exploring our surroundings in evolution helped us detect threats to our life and helped us to find food. These are two of the most important factors for our survival. If we can do this surveing from a high or sweeping vantage, we can both sway a large area of the food and at the same time, spot threats from a far distance.

Rosalind - Is it the same for landscapes that are manmade?

Michael - For cityscapes on the other hand, we may have slightly different reasons for our fascination. Here, the most striking examples are of structures where humans created something of extraordinary scale of magnitude such as the New York skyline with the skyscrapers or the Eiffel Tower. The enjoyment most probably comes from mix of social engagement, pride or awe that we as humans are able to create such enormous structures or again, interest in complexity.



Subscribe Free

Related Content


Make a comment

A bit of Sun is good for you.
A bit of oxygen from photosynthesis is good for you.
A bit of exercise is good for you, and a bit more is even better.
Doing the same mindless work day after day is bad for you.
Pollution is bad for you.

What better way to feel better? Get out of your rut, and go look at a view! evan_au, Thu, 1st Oct 2015

The question "Why do people enjoy views" is about the view count of their internet forum postings, blogs, vlogs, status updates, ect. The answer is that we enjoy the view counts because they make us feel a little important. Pseudoscience-is-malarkey, Tue, 3rd Nov 2015

See the whole discussion | Make a comment

Not working please enable javascript
Powered by UKfast
Genetics Society