Real and Virtual Nature Experiences (11-12-19)

Laurent and colleagues confirm the value of spending time in both “real” and “virtual” nature.  The team report that they  “conduct[ed] an experiment with healthy undergraduate students that tests the effects of six minutes of outdoor nature exposure with six minutes of exposure to a 360-degree VR [virtual reality] nature video, which is recorded at the outdoor nature exposure location. . . . We find that both types of nature exposure increase physiological arousal, benefit positive mood levels, and are restorative compared to an indoor setting without nature; however, for outdoor exposure, positive mood levels increase and for virtual nature, they stay the same. . . . Settings where people have limited access to nature might consider using VR nature experiences to promote emotional health.”

Heidemarie Laurent, Steven LaValle, Katherine Mimnaugh, and Matthew Browning.  “Can Simulated Nature Support Health?  Comparing Short, Single-Doses of 360-Degree Nature Videos in Virtual Reality with the Outdoors.”Frontiers in Psychology, in press, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02667