Attention Restoration Theory (ART) describes the phenomena where people's attention spans verifiably increase after spending some time in nature. This is the case for all of us; young and old. Ottosson and Grahn (2005) found people in an aged care facility who were exposed to nature for one hour a week had improved attention compared to the elderly people who remained indoors. In a completely different context, Kuo and Sullivan (2001) found young adult residents who had a view of nature had higher scores on attentional capacity and were also less likely to be aggressive, compared to people who lived in the inner city.
As we spend time in a natural environment helps our attention system to recover from depletion, renewing our cognitive resources.
- Berman, M. G., Kross, E., Krpan, K. M., Askren, M. K., Burson, A., Deldin, P. J., ... & Jonides, J. (2012). Interacting with nature improves cognition and affect for individuals with depression. Journal of affective disorders, 140, 300-305.
- Berto, R. (2005). Exposure to restorative environments helps restore attentional capacity. Journal of environmental psychology, 25, 249-259.
- Craft, L. L., & Perna, F. M. (2004). The benefits of exercise for the clinically depressed. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry, 6, 104.
Kaplan, S. (1995). The restorative benefits of nature: Toward an integrative framework. Journal of environmental psychology, 15, 169-182.
- Kuo, F. E., & Sullivan, W. C. (2001). Environment and crime in the inner city: Does vegetation reduce crime?. Environment and behavior, 33, 343-367.
- Ottosson, J., & Grahn, P. (2005). A comparison of leisure time spent in a garden with leisure time spent indoors: on measures of restoration in residents in geriatric care. Landscape Research, 30, 23-55.
Passmore, H. A., & Holder, M. D. (2016). Noticing nature: Individual and social benefits of a two-week intervention. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 1-10.