New research quantifies the ‘wow’ factor of sunrise and sunset

A new study has identified the impact that fleeting natural events, such as sunrises and sunsets, can have on people, and sought to quantify their effects. Researchers used the latest computer graphics to show carefully controlled images of both urban and natural environments to more than 2,500 participants. When these scenes featured elements such as sunrise and sunset, participants considered them to be substantially more beautiful than when seen under sunny conditions at any other time of day. Unexpectedly, the paper revealed that sunrise and sunset could also trigger significant boosts in people’s feelings of awe.

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