Predictable novelty: Why we love fall

I am away on a short vacation – enjoying fall. While I’m travelling, I’m re-posting some content from my previous blog site. Enjoy.

maple-leaf

I love this time of year, when the Earth’s spin and the tilt of the planet carries us into cooler temperatures, shorter days and colourful leaves. And wool socks. And the smoky aroma of logs burning the fireplace. And cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves.

The cooler weather rejuvenates people. The shorter days give us more time to read. Pumpkin Spice Lattes warm chilled hands. (My daughter works at Starbucks, and she spends much of her time these days preparing Pumpkin Spice Lattes. People love them.)

Most of us love these things without understanding why, but scientists have theories about our affinity for fall. Catherine Franssen wrote about it on Huff Post Science.

According to Franssen, we like “predictable novelty.” In other words, fall gives us the two things we crave all in one package: change and stability. It brings change that doesn’t make us anxious, because we know it’s coming. We also associate fall with pleasurable things, like pumpkin pie and walks in fallen leaves. Those pleasurable memories trigger neurotransmitters.

“The neuroscience behind that love is the trifecta of pleasurable neurotransmitters fired: dopamine (pleasure), serotonin (contentment) and norepinephrine (alertness). When all three are going at once, you’re in a heightened state of awareness in a really good way.” —Catherine Franssen

Apparently, many of us float through autumn high on dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine—not to mention cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves—as we eagerly anticipate football victories, Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas parties.

Sounds good to me. I think I’ll have a latte . . . 

3 thoughts on “Predictable novelty: Why we love fall

  1. marianbeaman

    I assume you are still on “vacay” enjoying autumnal blessings, Arlene. Good for you! (I just returned from my book tour in late September.)

    Still, I do not get your blog posts either here or there. Just now I went to my WordPress Reader and clicked on “Follow.” Otherwise, subscribing on your website yields an “invalid address” response. EEEEEK!

    Reply
    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Sorry to hear about all that confusion. I’m not sure where the problem lies with the website. I have had others subscribe that way, and it worked. You can manage your Reader settings so that the posts come through email instead of just the Reader. I hope that works. Either way, I appreciate your persistence and support!

      Reply

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