Young woman wearing backpack, standing on rocks, side view
Read aloud Tired and uninspired ... Go out into nature - that makes your head free again ?, you can hear it then. This advice has now received a scientific foundation: US researchers were able to show that after a four-day backpacking tour, people scored 50 percent better in creativity tests than those without the refreshing effect of spending a nature break. In the past 30 years, the time people spend outdoors has declined rapidly, say scientists around Ruth Atchley of the University of Kansas. Already today children spend most of their free time indoors? Television, computers and mobile phones are increasingly competing for playful adventures in the fresh air. According to current theories, the overstimulation of our multimedia world, however, leads to an excessive demand, which can even cause a decline in mental performance. Previous studies have already suggested that nature impressions are restorative in this context. Ruth Atchley and her colleagues have now shown that this effect is reflected in a measurable performance increase in tasks that require creativity.

Inventive through? Pure nature?

The study included 56 people? 30 men and 26 women? with an average age of 28 years. They participated in various groups of four-day hikes through the wilds of the states of Alaska, Colorado, Maine and Washington. Cell phones and other electronic devices had to stay at home? So it was pure nature? hip, trendy, popular.

One half of the subjects completed a special test to capture creative abilities before starting the hiking tours, the other solved the tasks after the four days of nature experience. The test consisted of ten questions, the solution of which required ingenuity. The evaluations showed that the participants, who came fresh from the forest and meadow, answered an average of 6.08 questions correctly, but the subjects, who only set off to nature after the test, managed an average of only 4.14 questions. display

The researchers can not say with certainty whether the effect of the lack of stimulus overload or the relaxation effect of nature is responsible for the boost of mental performance. But what counts is the positive overall result: "In our modern society, the ringing, flashing, honking and thundering sounds, so that our attention is constantly demanded. In contrast, nature has gentle stimuli that allow our mental capacities to recover, researchers describe the principle.

Ruth Atchley (University of Kansas) et al .: PLOS ONE, December 12, 2012 © - Martin Vieweg


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