Date of Graduation

5-2019

Level of Access

Open Access Thesis

Department or Program

Psychology

First Advisor

Samuel Putnam

Abstract

Previous research has shown that experiences in nature are predictive of increased connection to nature, well-being, and pro-environmental behavior. The current study investigated whether daily exposure to indoor nature imagery would also improve well-being and eco-conscious behaviors, and whether personally relevant images would enhance this hypothesized effect. Participants completed a test assessing baseline connection to nature and well-being, specifically satisfaction with life, positive and negative emotions, and stress. In the 2 (Nature vs. Built) X 2 (Familiar vs. Unfamiliar) study design, 125 participants either received a poster from a photo that they submitted (a personally-relevant nature scene or personally-relevant built scene) or a poster of an unfamiliar natural or built scene. After four weeks of daily exposure to this new poster in their home, participants completed a post-test which included the same measures of well-being and connection to nature, along with a novel eco-conscious behaviors measure involving environmental petitions. The nature intervention significantly improved participants’ satisfaction with life. The personal relevancy of images did not enhance well-being, either alone nor in interaction with image content. The finding that daily exposure could lead to improved well-being has implications for addressing mental health concerns.

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