What personal factors affect our experience of nature? Tang, Sullivan, and Chang asked study participants to rate “three different types of images of rural forest landscapes in terms of perceived environmental information, including sense of safety, coherence, complexity, legibility, mystery, attentional restorativeness, familiarity, and preference.” The researchers found “that deeper personal connections to nature are associated with greater perceptual evaluations of sense of safety, legibility, mystery, and attentional restorativeness.” Landscape type and familiarity with the landscape were ruled out as explanations for the effects found. When people have deeper personal connections to nature, they feel more strongly that they belong to the natural world.
I-Chun Tang, William Sullivan, and Chun-Yen Chang. “Perceptual Evaluation of Natural Landscapes: The Role of the Individual Connection to Nature.” Environment and Behavior, in press.