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Processing of natural scenery is associated with lower attentional and cognitive load compared with urban ones
Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Finland.
University of Skövde, School of Bioscience. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre. Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Finland. (Kognitiv Neurovetenskap och Filosofi, Consciousness and Cognitive neuroscience)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2771-1588
Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Finland / Department of Psychology, University of Florence, Italy.
Department of Psychology, University of Turku, Finland / Department of Psychology, University of Florence, Italy.
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2019 (English)In: Journal of Environmental Psychology, ISSN 0272-4944, E-ISSN 1522-9610, Vol. 62, p. 1-11Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Environmental psychology has provided evidence for psychologically favorable effects of exposure to natural settings, by means of controlled laboratory experiments as well as outdoor field studies. Most of these studies have employed subjective rating scales to assess processes and outcomes of exposure to nature, while only few of them have used physiological measures to assess the neural correlates of these benefits. The present study used electroencephalography (EEG) to explore how the brain engages in processing of images of natural vs. urban scenery. During EEG recording, the participants (n = 32) were presented with a series of photos depicting urban or natural scenery. Participants rated the sceneries for their subjective relaxing value. Images of natural scenery were rated as more relaxing compared to the images of urban scenery. Event related potentials suggested a lower attentional demand for images of natural scenery compared to urban ones. Signal spectral analyses revealed differences in brain activity level and cognitive demand between natural and urban scenery. Our data suggest that the visual perception of natural environments calls for less attentional and cognitive processing, compared with urban ones. © 2019 Elsevier Ltd

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Academic Press, 2019. Vol. 62, p. 1-11
Keywords [en]
Attention, Attention restoration theory (ART), Cognitive load, EEG, Perception, Environmental psychology
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology) Neurosciences
Research subject
Consciousness and Cognitive Neuroscience
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-16653DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2019.01.007ISI: 000466252500001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85061318570OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-16653DiVA, id: diva2:1290998
Available from: 2019-02-22 Created: 2019-02-22 Last updated: 2019-11-18Bibliographically approved

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Revonsuo, Antti

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