University of Twente Student Theses


Exploring Virtual Nature to Protmote Social Connectedness and Storytelling

Bernhardt, Elisabeth (2021) Exploring Virtual Nature to Protmote Social Connectedness and Storytelling.

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Abstract:As many people experienced loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic, and nature has already been shown to improve social well-being, the interest of this study lies in answering the following question: Does a virtual nature scene with people promote storytelling and social connectedness? If so, virtual nature has the potential to be used as an alternative to real nature which can decrease negative feelings like loneliness, especially for handicapped people, people with poor access to nature, and for those in quarantine. The design of this study was between-subject with a total of 67 participants. In the experimental condition, participants watched a two-minute video of animated nature with social presence (i.e., humans walking along a path), while the control group watched a video without the social presence, to see if the presence of humans has a more positive effect on the viewer’s social connectedness and storytelling. Moreover, it was analysed if nature-relatedness can be seen as a moderator, and it was expected that high nature-relatedness strengthens the positive effect of the trigger on storytelling. However, findings could neither show if a difference in social connectedness between both groups exists, nor could they feature a positive effect of the trigger for storytelling. Also, nature-relatedness could not be proven playing a moderating role and enhancing the effect of the social presence in the nature video. The results were not consistent with prior research because they showed no differences between the experimental group and control group, which was different to the expectations. It is advisable for future research to investigate similar research but with a less demonstrative trigger, in a controlled setting and by using a greater sample.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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