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The influence of interaction with forest on cognitive function

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Abstract:

The aim of this study was to investigate whether forest experience had a positive impact on cognitive function. Cognitive function refers to a person's ability to intellectually process by which one becomes aware of, perceives, or comprehends ideas. It involves all aspects of perception, thinking, reasoning, and remembering. Sixty university students participated in this study. We compared the restorative effects on cognitive functioning of interactions with forest versus urban environments. To measure participants’ cognitive function and mood state, Trail Making Test B and Profile of Mood States were used in this study. The results of this study indicated that participants’ cognitive function was significantly improved when they walked in forest (i.e. time taken to complete the task was shortened by more than 7 seconds), but not when they walked downtown. In addition, participants’ mood also positively changed when they walked in forest. The results of this study confirmed Kaplan's attention restoration theory (ART). ART has emphasized the importance of cognitive functions from interaction with natural environments such as forests.

Keywords: Attention restoration theory; POMS; South Korea; Trail Making Test B; cognitive function; forest vs. urban; mood

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02827581.2011.585996

Affiliations: 1: School of Forest Resources,Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Korea 2: Department of Green Business Management,Korea Forest Research Institute, Seoul, Korea

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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