University of Twente Student Theses


Quiet the Mind with a Dose of Nature : Exploring the role of awe in nature in our wellbeing within virtual reality mediations

Röhr, Jeanine (2022) Quiet the Mind with a Dose of Nature : Exploring the role of awe in nature in our wellbeing within virtual reality mediations.

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Abstract:Today's constant digital information, societies' obsession with productivity, the deficiency of nature exposure, and the increased number of stressors in modern life prevent individuals from being in a state of physical and psychological rest, contributing to their stressful and anxious lifestyles. Considering the comparable positive outcomes of awe and mindfulness such as feeling connected and having more awareness of the present moment, this research aims to explore the potential effects of awe-eliciting landscapes on individuals in the context of a mindfulness practice in VR on the wellbeing of adults. Participants responded to a survey before and after partaking in a two-minute meditation experiment in a 360-degree video of nature in Virtual Reality. There were three conditions, two high-awe landscapes (beach and mountain) and one low-awe forest condition. The survey measured state anxiety (pre-and post-experience), state mindfulness, awe, perceived body boundaries, and positive emotions. Indeed, findings (marginally) show that high-awe nature landscapes caused a higher reduction of state anxiety than the low-awe landscape. Moreover, participants in all three conditions perceived a reduced salience of their body boundaries and experienced a diminished sense of self, resulting in a more fundamental connectedness to their environment. In general, this study shows that natural landscapes, even if simulated, and meditation offer individuals beneficial outcomes that can be incorporated in everyday life. In today's hectic world, surrounded by an abundance of stressors, nature, and meditation (through VR) can offer individuals a way to unwind from everyday life and improve their wellbeing, especially those who are enabled and restricted.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Communication Studies BSc (56615)
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