The Effects of the Natural Environment on Attention and Family Cohesion: An Experimental Study

This study explored 1) mothers’ and middle-childhood daughters’ attention after exposure to two different environments, and 2) their quality of family cohesion. Twenty-seven mother-daughter dyads participated in two counterbalanced experimental conditions—a 20-minute walk at an arboretum and a mall—followed by a family interaction task. Before and after each walk, we measured attention using digit span backwards and measured family cohesion using direct observational coding methods. Results showed that exposure to nature restored individual attention, especially for mothers; was perceived as more fun, relaxing, and interesting; and contributed to greater dyadic cohesion.

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