[Irving Biederman, a neuroscientist at the University of Southern California] first showed a collection of photographs to volunteer test subjects, and found they said they preferred certain kinds of pictures (monkeys in a tree or a group of houses along a river) over others (an empty parking lot or a pile of old paint cans).I remember when I was little, the world seemed both mysterious and ultimately meaningful. Not anymore; at least I've got the internet.
The preferred pictures had certain common features, including a good vantage on a landscape and an element of mystery. In one way or another, said Dr. Biederman, they all presented new information that somehow needed to be interpreted.
...coming across what Dr. Biederman calls new and richly interpretable information triggers a chemical reaction that makes us feel good, which in turn causes us to seek out even more of it. The reverse is true as well: We want to avoid not getting those hits because, for one, we are so averse to boredom.