The Scientific Benefits of a Fireside Chat

Humans have been socialising around fires for thousands of years and recent research has highlighted some unexpected benefits of doing so.

If you’re in the northern hemisphere, you’ll be aware of it getting a little colder as winter approaches, and this week I’ve got an insight that, in some ways, relates to temperature and interaction.

In 2014, researchers from the University of Alabama in the USA, investigated the impact on our behaviour of being near a fire and found some really interesting results.

They found that people were calmer when enjoying a fire, that they were more likely to relax and that their blood pressure reduced. However, most importantly from my perspective, they found that people became ‘pro-social’ and more likely to interact.

Now I’ve certainty experienced this phenomenon and I wonder if you have too – but not always when I’m next to the real thing. For example, have you ever wondered why at hotels and airports they sometimes have a film of a cosy fire on a loop? I suspect they are hoping people feel calmer and more relaxed there too.

So, this week’s insight, if you want to feel calmer, lower your blood pressure and interact with others, a fire just might help.

I hope this is a useful insight that you can use and I’ll be back next week with some more meetology® – helping you thrive professionally and personally by making people skills one of your superpowers.

Have a good week,


Jonathan Bradshaw
The Meetology® Lab


Dana Lynn, Christopher. “Hearth and campfire influences on arterial blood pressure: Defraying the costs of the social brain through fireside relaxation.” Evolutionary Psychology Vol 12, Issue 5. First published: December-01-2014




About the Author:

Jonathan Bradshaw presents and trains internationally on the fascinating psychology powering exceptional interpersonal communication. He is Founder of the Meetology® Lab and leads the company’s team of behavioral psychologists in collating and sharing cutting-edge research on exceptional people skills. As an experienced and engaging keynote speaker Jon has presented at conferences and business events in over 30 countries and is an award-winning columnist and blogger. Learn more about him speaking at your next event via or connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.