Exposure to Nature and its Effects on Cognitive Performance

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Lindsey Lyons
Annette Stowasser


Record ID: 210

Award(s): Excellence in Research Mentoring

Student Major: Neurobiology

Project Advisor: Annette Stowasser

Abstract: Education is essential to cognitive development, but what is essential to a better education? It's important to constantly evaluate our education system and see what areas could use improvement. How can we make our education systems more beneficial and inclusive to All students to improve understanding and retention of learned material? One area of investigation is the influence of nature exposure. Many studies have shown the different benefits of nature exposure to both physical and mental health. What this study explores is, whether the incorporation of nature, benefits learning and improves cognitive performance. To investigate if green environments improve cognitive performance, 16 different studies were reviewed involving the incorporation of nature in different ways, from students who sit near a window, to hands-on outside learning. Various important aspects such as age range, sample size, methods used, etc... were tracked and compared. All 16 studies showed results that students were more engaged in their learning and performed better overall. For example, one study showed on average, the number of times students needed to be redirected to focus on the lesson, was cut almost in half following a lesson outdoors. While these studies seem to show that green spaces help, it remains to be seen if there is also a benefit for the teachers and a more diverse group of students. Further research, involving an additional focus on teachers and another involving how we can improve the diversity of the students is proposed. 


Article Details

Category: Social Services, Healthcare, & Education
Author Biography

Lindsey Lyons

Major: Neurobiology