With advances in modern technology there is an increasing trend away from experiencing the natural world directly and a move towards experiencing it indirectly through the virtual world. Research published in this month?s journal of Environmental Psychology, looks at whether there is a difference between the two
The study involved a group of ninety students who were given a set of challenging tasks to solve. Heart rate was measured between the tasks, and this was used to indicate recovery from the stressful situation. The students were in one of three groups while doing the tasks: some sat at a table with a view of greenery from the window; while others sat facing a plasma screen viewing the exact same scene though via a digital recording; the control group sat facing a window with the curtains drawn.
The researchers found that those students looking directly out of the window showed a quicker recovery of heart rate than those in either the plasma screen group or the control group. In addition to this, the length of time looking out of the window correlated with faster recovery. This study not only supports the benefits of directly experiencing nature over watching similar scenes on TV but it also further supports previous research which shows that nature has a calming effect on people. To read the article click here