Research Repository

Viewing Nature Scenes Positively Affects Recovery of Autonomic Function Following Acute-Mental Stress

Brown, Daniel K and Barton, Jo L and Gladwell, Valerie F (2013) 'Viewing Nature Scenes Positively Affects Recovery of Autonomic Function Following Acute-Mental Stress.' Environmental Science & Technology, 47 (11). pp. 5562-5569. ISSN 0013-936X

Brown_2013_viewing nature scenes positively affects recovery of autonomic function following acute mental stress.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (2MB) | Preview


A randomized crossover study explored whether viewing different scenes prior to a stressor altered autonomic function during the recovery from the stressor. The two scenes were (a) nature (composed of trees, grass, fields) or (b) built (composed of man-made, urban scenes lacking natural characteristics) environments. Autonomic function was assessed using noninvasive techniques of heart rate variability; in particular, time domain analyses evaluated parasympathetic activity, using root-mean-square of successive differences (RMSSD). During stress, secondary cardiovascular markers (heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure) showed significant increases from baseline which did not differ between the two viewing conditions. Parasympathetic activity, however, was significantly higher in recovery following the stressor in the viewing scenes of nature condition compared to viewing scenes depicting built environments (RMSSD; 50.0 ± 31.3 vs 34.8 ± 14.8 ms). Thus, viewing nature scenes prior to a stressor alters autonomic activity in the recovery period. The secondary aim was to examine autonomic function during viewing of the two scenes. Standard deviation of R-R intervals (SDRR), as change from baseline, during the first 5 min of viewing nature scenes was greater than during built scenes. Overall, this suggests that nature can elicit improvements in the recovery process following a stressor. © 2013 American Chemical Society.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Autonomic Nervous System; Humans; Stress, Psychological; Affect; Self Concept; Blood Pressure; Heart Rate; Nature; Adult; Aged; Middle Aged; Female; Male; Young Adult
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2013 09:25
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 11:03

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item