Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Nature Nurtures Creativity

Nature nurtures creativity
Backpackers scored a whopping 50 percent better on a creativity test after spending four days in nature, unplugged from their phones.
“Interacting with nature has real, measurable benefits to creative problem-solving that really hadn’t been formally demonstrated before,” says David Strayer, a co-author of the study.
“Gentle, soft fascination”
The study was published in PLoS ONE, and involved 30 men and 26 women with an average age of 28 who participated in four- to six-day wilderness hiking trips; no electronic devices were allowed. Of the 56 subjects, 24 took a creativity test the morning before they began their trip, and 32 took the test on the morning of the trip’s fourth day. "The results show that four days of immersion in nature, and the corresponding disconnection from multimedia and technology, increases performance on a creativity, problem-solving task by a full 50 percent,” the researchers conclude.
While earlier research has indicated nature has beneficial effects, “it’s equally plausible that it is not multitasking to wits’ end that is associated with the benefits,” Strayer says. The researchers cite earlier work on ‘attentional restoration theory’, which holds that modern technology and multitasking place demands on our ‘executive attention’ – the ability to switch among tasks, stay on task and inhibit distracting actions and thoughts – and that nature is effective in replenishing such abilities. “Our modern society is filled with sudden events (sirens, horns, ringing phones, alarms, television, etc.) that hijack attention. By contrast, natural environments are associated with gentle, soft fascination, allowing the executive attentional system to replenish.”

Source : Nature and Health



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