Psychology Exercises
Spending Time in Nature

Spending Time in Nature

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.


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    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.