Nadkarni and her colleagues confirmed the value of watching nature videos, even in challenging environments. The team share that “An estimated 5.3 million Americans live or work in nature-deprived venues such as prisons, homeless shelters, and mental hospitals. . . . We report on the effects of vicarious nature experiences (nature videos) provided to maximum-security prison inmates for one year, and compared their emotions and behaviors to inmates who were not offered such videos. Inmates who watched nature videos reported feeling significantly calmer [for hours after seeing the videos], less irritable, and more empathetic, and committed 26% fewer violent infractions as compared to those who did not watch the videos. Prison staff corroborated these findings. This research reinforces the value of nature exposure as a powerful tool not only for corrections administrators, but also for urban planners and policy makers, to promote socially desirable behaviors.” Inmates watched the nature videos while exercising in a high-walled concrete recreation yard that they had access to 4 or 5 times a week for 45 minutes per session. They were able to select the video viewed and available images depicted a number of different sorts of spaces, including deserts and rain forests.
Nalini Nadkarni, Patricia Hasbach, Tierney Thys, Emily Crockett, and Lance Schnacker. 2017. “Impacts of Nature Imagery on People in Severely Nature-Deprived Environments.” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, vol. 15, no. 7, pp. 395-403.