What Nature Programs Can Do for You
New findings from a UK study also revealed that watching nature programs can increase positive feelings and in some cases can even strengthen your connection to the natural world. Researchers from the University of Exeter first asked the study’s 96 participants to watch a video in which an individual describes work at an office supply company. Then they were shown scenes of an underwater coral reef either on TV, via a headset using 360-degree video or a headset using computer generated interactive graphics. The researchers found that all three viewing methods minimized negative feelings and reduced boredom although they reported that only the interactive virtual reality experience led to increased happiness and reinforced how connected participants felt to nature. Lead researcher Nicky Yeo said the results show that simply watching nature on TV can improve mood and combat boredom. “With people around the world facing limited access to outdoor environments because of COVID-19 quarantines, this study suggests that nature programs might offer an accessible way” to benefit from a dose of digital nature. Study co-author Mathew White, Ph.D., suggested that the messages about conservation often embedded in the programs also might prompt people to protect and preserve nature in the real world.
N.L. Yeo et al, “What is the best way of delivering virtual nature for improving mood? An experimental comparison of high definition TV, 360º video, and computer-generated virtual reality.” Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2020; 101500 DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2020.101500
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