Date of Award
Master of Science
Psychological Science (MS)
Dr. Jon Craig Barch
Natural environments provide many physical and physiological benefits for an individual. Examples may include decreased stress levels, increased intrinsic motivations and prosocial behavior, and more. Fueled by the curiosity of the extent to which nature provides these benefits, this study investigated whether pre-existing preference for either waterscape scenes or mountainous scenes, as well as self-reported affective and associative responses to those environmental exposures are possible explanations for the experience of wellbeing when one is exposed to nature. Measures included the Nature Relatedness Scale, State Vitality Scale, Positive and Negative Affect Scale, and a nature preference scale (mountainous vs. waterscape). Nature relatedness was a significant predictor for state vitality and positive affect, as participants who scored higher on the nature relatedness scale prior to the study rated themselves as happier and more energized after viewing nature scenes. More participants in the water condition cognitively associated themselves interacting with the environment, recounting specific memories of their own, as well as reporting more calm cognitive associations. Also, people who preferred waterscape scenes reported more calm cognitive associations in both conditions. The interaction between picture type and nature preference for the restorative element of fascination showed that individuals who preferred a specific type of nature scene were in turn more fascinated when viewing the scene they preferred. Implications for these results suggest that people who are more closely related to nature experience higher levels of positive affect and state vitality when exposed to natural environments. In addition, one’s own nature preferences result in higher levels of fascination when viewing environments that you like to see.
Moffett, Abigail P., "Measuring Affective Responses to Different Types of Nature Exposure" (2022). All NMU Master's Theses. 724.