Support Mental Restoration/Ease Stress

Good Breaks (01-14-22)

Eyal, and Robertson report on mentally refreshing breaks.  Among other material, they share that “Research shows that nature exposure is restorative for the mind.  One study reported better working memory scores after a walk in a natural environment, but not in an urban setting. . . . If you are stuck indoors, research shows that just looking at some photos of nature can help. . . .

City Stress (12-13-21)

Robin Mazumder investigates links between urban design and mental wellbeing.  He reports that during his dissertation research “participants were brought into an urban environment, in the real world, but also via virtual reality, through the use of 360-degree videos of cityscapes.”  Data collected via surveys and from physiological measurements indicated that “tall buildings make people uncomfortable when they’re surrounded by them.

Design and Lockdown Stress (12-08-21)

Fornara, Mosca, Bosco, and 13 others studied how home design influenced resident stress levels during the 2020 lockdown in Italy.  Their study “examined the relationship between the ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’ dimensions of the home, measured in terms of objective home crowding and satisfaction with the space at home, in relation to perceived stress and the perceived risk of COVID-19 infection during the lockdown. . . . perceived stress is influenced by objective home crowding through . . . satisfaction with the space at home.

Virtual Reality and Restoration (11-30-21)

Newman and colleagues investigated how virtual reality realism influences potentially restorative VR experiences.  They determined that “High realism VR environments provided a greater sense of presence and restoration.  Realism is important, particularly for environmental restoration research. . . . Two studies were conducted to examine how realism of environmental presentations impact affective responses and participant perceptions. . . . . Study One showed that experiences of VR presentations fell between real and video presentations.

Nature Soundscapes (11-03-21)

Ratcliffe’s work confirms the value of nature soundtracks in particular contexts.  She determined via a literature review that “nature is broadly characterized by the sounds of birdsong, wind, and water, and these sounds can enhance positive perceptions of natural environments presented through visual means. Second, isolated from other sensory modalities these sounds are often, although not always, positively affectively appraised and perceived as restorative.


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