Nature and Time (10-04-17)

How does being in nature influence how quickly time seems to pass?  Davydenko and Peetz found that “an experience in nature can feel longer than the same experience in a man-made environment, independent of actual duration. Participants overestimated the duration of a walk if this walk took them through a nature setting but perceived an equally long walk through an urban setting accurately. The nature walk also resulted in a marked improvement in mood and reduction in stress compared to the urban walk.”  The people walking in nature walked along a river and their “walk included trees, a river, chirping birds, buzzing insects, and small animals. . . . The ‘urban walk’ consisted of walking in underground university tunnels that connect campus buildings. . . . Both walks were of equal difficulty. . . . [and] took approximately 10 min to complete.”  Some practical implications of this research: “when there is only little time available (e.g., break time during a work day), spending this time in nature might give the illusion that more time has passed and increase the effectiveness and restorative effects of a break.”

Mariya Davydenko and Johanna Peetz.  2017.  “Time Grows on Trees:  The Effect of Nature Settings on Time Perception.”  Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 54, pp. 20-26.