What makes fireworks so appealing - Deepstash

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What makes fireworks so appealing

What makes fireworks so appealing

The reason we like fireworks so much: they scare us.

  • Like lightning, the bright flashes warn us something is about to happen. This activates the amygdala, a little ball of nerves in the brain that detects fear.
  • After the lights have stimulated the anticipation of a threat, the resounding crack of the firework confirms this perception in our brains. In response, our reward centers release a surge of dopamine (the feel-good neurotransmitter).

Fireworks-induced fear is controlled

After seeing these light-up shows over and over again, our brains anticipate the bang that comes after the flashes of light. That's unlike a thunderstorm in which we know thunder follows lightning, but when or how loud the next boom will be is out of our control.

This also explains why these celebratory pyrotechnics often terrify dogs. While we know a sound is coming after the firework takes flight, dogs are caught off guard by the sudden, loud noise.

Fireworks and the novelty effect

Fireworks might be especially mesmerizing to us because of their novelty.

As we watch these magnificent pyrotechnic stars explode, we’re exposed to injections of color we don’t normally see.

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