Hashing through Nature
Makes You Nicer and More Caring!
from: University of Rochester
Want to be a better person? Commune with nature.
Paying attention to the natural world not only makes you feel
better, it makes you behave better, finds a new study to be published
October 1 in the Personality and Social Psychology
"Stopping to experience our natural surroundings can have social as
well as personal benefits," says Richard Ryan, coauthor and professor
of psychology, psychiatry and education at the University of
Rochester. While the salubrious effects of nature are well documented,
from increasing happiness and physical health to lowering stress, this
study shows that the benefits extend to a person's values and
actions. Exposure to natural as opposed to man-made environments leads
people to value community and close relationships and to be more
generous with money, find Ryan and his team of researchers at the
University of Rochester.
The paper includes four experiments in which 370 participants were
exposed to either natural or man-made settings. Participants were
encouraged to attend to their environments by noticing colors and
textures and imagining sounds and smells. In three of the studies,
participants were shown a selection of four images on a 19 inch
computer screen for two minutes each. Half of the subject viewed
buildings, roads, and other cityscapes; the other half observed
landscapes, lakes, and deserts. The urban and nature images were
matched for color, complexity, layout, and lighting. In a fourth
study, participants were simply assigned at random to work in a lab
with or without plants. Participants then answered a questionnaire
assessing the importance of four life aspirations: wealth and fame
("to be financially successful" and "to be admired by many people")
and connectedness and community ("to have deep enduring relationships"
and "to work toward the betterment of society").
Parks & Recreation
Last modified: Thursday, 2010-Jan-21 08:15:22 PM CST