A woman holding a bushel of tulips

 

Written by Jacob Terranova

 

Flowers, of course, aren’t intended solely for funerals. They serve a meaningful purpose on a variety of occasions; they celebrate life, they help court lovers, they mean to “get well soon,” and they celebrate that you’ve gotten a year older. We have been using flowers to convey all kinds of emotions and intentions. But why? For funerals, it’s a tradition we’ve held dating way back. They have served both ceremonial purposes and practical ones.

 

The idea is a bit perplexing. If you think about it, do flowers offer a perceivable benefit? Thousands of years ago there were better plants we could have spent time cultivating — you know, like edible or medicinal ones. Scientists at Rutgers University decided to look into it. The full study appeared in Evolutionary Psychology and can be found here.

 

The study consisted of three different tests on men and women from various age groups. The goal was to measure any impact that receiving flowers had on the subject’s mood.

 

Some of the interesting results they found:

  • Moods were significantly increased for those who received flowers as opposed to those who did not.
  • Those who received more than one bouquet of flowers had lower depression scores than they did at the time of the pretest.
  • Those who received flowers in the second study were reported to stand closer to the person that gave them the flowers and were more likely to start up a conversation.

In all three results from the study, flowers were shown to increase positive emotion. The researchers had an interesting theory as to why. One hypothesis was that flowers evolved so that the prettier the flower, the happier the human. That led to its increased cultivation by humans and helped certain flowers survive at higher rates.

 

It’s no surprise that giving flowers has been a tradition for thousands of years. Simply put: it works. Whether for marriage, mourning, or anything between — a nice bouquet can go a long way in increasing our happiness.

  

What are some instances in which you recall flowers made an impact on someone’s life? Share in the comments below!