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The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting With Nature
Psychological Science
Format: Journal Article
Publication Date: Nov 30, 2007
Pages: 1207
Sources ID: 35776
Notes: ISSN 09567976; ISSN 14679280; ISSN 0956-7976 (print); ISSN 1467-9280 (print)
Visibility: Public (group default)
Abstract: (Show)
We compare the restorative effects on cognitive functioning of interactions with natural versus urban environments. Attention restoration theory (ART) provides an analysis of the kinds of environments that lead to improvements in directed-attention abilities. Nature, which is filled with intriguing stimuli, modestly grabs attention in a bottom-up fashion, allowing top-down directed-attention abilities a chance to replenish. Unlike natural environments, urban environments are filled with stimulation that captures attention dramatically and additionally requires directed attention (e.g., to avoid being hit by a car), making them less restorative. We present two experiments that show that walking in nature or viewing pictures of nature can improve directed-attention abilities as measured with a backwards digit-span task and the Attention Network Task, thus validating attention restoration theory.