Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Spring 5-5-2014


Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 2015


Copyright © 2015 Tobias Burnham


Humans are continually opting to live in urban environments, furthering us from the innate connection to the natural environment we have evolved with over millennia. These urban settings place several stressors on us in the form of stimuli that requires directed attention (cars, billboards, traffic lights, etc.) in which deplete our attentional resources leading to Direct Attention Fatigue (DAF). Attentional Restoration Theory (ART) is based on the ability of natural environments to have restorative effects on these depleted resources due to the relative ease of experiencing nature through involuntary attention. The focus of this study is to determine how nature-based décor used in indoor settings (e.g. home, office) may replenish directed attentional resources, influencing cognitive abilities and mood. Using twenty-seven participants in three environmental conditions, we found that the data points in the projected direction of the hypothesis that the nature-based décor condition replenished directed attentional resources, at least somewhat. The nature-based décor condition showed the greatest improvement and highest score on the cognitive measurement. Additionally, participants in the nature condition scored lower on the negative emotion items measurement.