University of Twente Student Theses


Nature in the age of hectic life : how digital nature contact promotes restorative experiences

Willmann, M. (2021) Nature in the age of hectic life : how digital nature contact promotes restorative experiences.

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Abstract:Due to the COVID pandemic and lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, there have been fewer opportunities for nature interaction and at times social contact has only been possible online. In developed regions of the world, the number of people living far from nature is increasing and thus many are suffering from stress caused by overstimulating urban environments. At the same time, the danger of becoming mentally ill is constantly increasing. This study undertakes basic research about the underlying principles of nature and restoration at a time when stress in everyday life increases and nature contact is lagging behind. In this context, digital nature is a means for making nature accessible. According to attention restoration theory and a large existing body of nature research, nature contact can help in recovering from mental strain. Research also suggests that multisensory exposure to nature is more effective than only triggering the visual sense. This study questions the ex-tent to which restorative experiences can be promoted through digital nature. The focus is placed on how soft fascination and multisensory exposure affect restorative experiences and ascertaining the extent to which nature relatedness influences these dynamics. This study (N=120) used a 3x2 (levels of soft fascination: low, medium, high x presence sound, absence sound) experimental research design, finding that the higher the level of soft fascination, the more likely that restoration occurs. Sound fitting the digital nature scenes helps in reducing stress and is strongly linked to emotional affect. Nature relatedness is a determining factor for restoring through digital nature, while this study shows that a high degree of nature relatedness is positively related to restoration, emotions and connectedness.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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