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Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2010 Oct;13(5):503-12. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2009.0308. Epub 2010 Feb 25.

Restorative effects of virtual nature settings.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. deltcho@gmail.com

Abstract

Previous research regarding the potential benefits of exposing individuals to surrogate nature (photographs and videos) has found that such immersion results in restorative effects such as increased positive affect, decreased negative affect, and decreased stress. In the current experiment, we examined whether immersion in a virtual computer-generated nature setting could produce restorative effects. Twenty-two participants were equally divided between two conditions, while controlling for gender. In each condition, participants performed a stress-induction task, and were then immersed in virtual reality (VR) for 10 minutes. The control condition featured a slide show in VR, and the nature experimental condition featured an active exploration of a virtual forest. Participants in the nature condition were found to exhibit increased positive affect and decreased stress after immersion in VR when compared to those in the control condition. The results suggest that immersion in virtual nature settings has similar beneficial effects as exposure to surrogate nature. These results also suggest that VR can be used as a tool to study and understand restorative effects.

PMID:
20950174
DOI:
10.1089/cyber.2009.0308
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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