Nature and Mental Refreshment (11-08-19)

Crossan and Salmoni’s work confirms previous studies which have determined that nature experiences are mentally refreshing.  The research team reports that “Attention restoration theory (ART) predicts that top-down processing during everyday activities can cause attentional fatigue and that bottom-up processing that occurs when people experience nature will be restorative. This study exposed participants to three different conditions . . . : a control condition during which participants walked on a typical treadmill; a nature condition during which participants walked on the same treadmill, experiencing a simulated nature walk; and a perturbation condition that included the same simulated nature scene but also required top-down processing during the walk. The findings supported ART predictions. . . . . top-down processing [note the description of this sort of mental work, above] in a simulated natural environment nullified the restorative effects and the nature condition produced a significant improvement in directed attention performance compared to the control and perturbation conditions after a 10-min walk.”

Corey Crossan and Alan Salmoni.  “A Simulated Walk in Nature:  Testing Predictions from the Attention Restoration Theory.”  Environment and Behavior, in press, https://doi.org/10.1177/0013916519882775