Researchers find time in wild boosts creativity, insight and problem solving
(Medical Xpress) -- Theres new evidence that our minds thrive away from it all.
Research conducted at the University of Kansas concludes that people from all walks of life show startling cognitive improvement for instance, a 50 percent boost in creativity after living for a few days steeped in nature.
Ruth Ann Atchley, whose research is featured in this months Backpacker magazine, said the soft fascination of the natural world appears to refresh the human mind, offering refuge from the cacophony of modern life.
Weve got information coming at us from social media, electronics and cell phones, said Atchley, associate professor and chair of psychology at KU. We constantly shift attention from one source to another, getting all of this information that simulates alarms, warnings and emergencies. Those threats are bad for us. They sap our resources to do the fun thinking and cognition humans are capable of things like creativity, or being kind and generous, along with our ability to feel good and be in a positive mood.
The researcher said that nature could stimulate the human mind without the often-menacing distractions of workaday life in the 21st-century.
Nature is a place where our mind can rest, relax and let down those threat responses, said Atchley. Therefore, we have resources left over to be creative, to be imaginative, to problem solve that allow us to be better, happier people who engage in a more productive way with others.
Atchley led a team that conducted initial research on a backpacking trip in Utah with the Remote Associates Test, a word-association exercise used for decades by psychologists to gauge creative intelligence. Her fellow researchers included Paul Atchley, associate professor of psychology at KU, and David Strayer, professor of cognition and neural science at the University of Utah.
Intrigued by positive results, the researchers partnered with Outward Bound, the Golden, Colo.-based nonprofit that leads educational expeditions into nature for people of many backgrounds. About 120 participants on outings in places like Alaska, Colorado and California completed the RAT test.
We worked with a number of backpacking groups that were going out last summer, Ruth Ann Atchley said. Four backpacker groups took the test before they hit the trail, and then four different groups did it on the fourth day just like we had done before. The data across age groups regular folks from age 18 into their 60s showed an almost 50 percent increase in creativity. It really worked in the sense that it was a well-used measure and we could see such a big difference in these two environments.
Best of all, she said that the benefits of nature belong to anyone who delves completely into wilderness for an amount of time equivalent to a long weekend.
Theres growing advantage over time to being in nature, said Ruth Ann Atchley. We think that it peaks after about three days of really getting away, turning off the cell phone, not hauling the iPad and not looking for internet coverage. Its when you have an extended period of time surrounded by that softly fascinating environment that you start seeing all kinds of positive effects in how your mind works.
Provided by University of Kansas
- Is there a hidden bias against creativity? Nov 18, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- To 'think outside the box', think outside the box Jan 19, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- A study looks at the nature of change in our aging, changing brains Nov 23, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Are we bad at forecasting our emotions? It depends on how you measure accuracy Jan 26, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- How your brain reacts to mistakes depends on your mindset Sep 30, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
May 23, 2013 Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
Ernie Pyle – an iconic war correspondent in World War II – reportedly said "There are no atheists in foxholes." A new joint study between two brothers at Cornell and Virginia Wesleyan found that only ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 1 hour ago | 3 / 5 (1) | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Research by Stanford scholar Emma Seppala at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education found that post-traumatic stress disorder decreased in veterans who participated ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Patients with diabetes who are depressed are much more likely to develop episodes of dangerously low blood sugars, or hypoglycemia, than are those who are not depressed, a new study has ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 3 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
A brief visual task can predict IQ, according to a new study. This surprisingly simple exercise measures the brain's unconscious ability to filter out visual movement. The study shows that individuals whose ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 23 hours ago | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 1 |
Nervous about that upcoming job interview? You might want to take steps to reduce your jitters, especially if you are a man.
Psychology & Psychiatry 23 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
(Medical Xpress)—A new study by researchers in the US has shown that an ancient virus can be modified to help in the fight against the simian immunodeficiency virus SIV, which is the equivalent in monkeys ...
2 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Regulating the distribution of power in neurons is done by a system that makes the national electric grid look simple by comparison. Each neuron has several thousand mitochondria confined ...
17 hours ago | 4.9 / 5 (7) | 0 |
New research presented today shows that formation of new neurons in the hippocampus - a brain region known for its importance in learning and remembering - could cause forgetting of old memories by causing a reorganization ...
1 hour ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
Researchers from London's Kingston University have begun a two-year study which could help prolong the lives of people with colorectal tumours.
1 hour ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
How can healthy people who hear voices help schizophrenics? Finding the answer for this is at the centre of research conducted at the University of Bergen.
1 hour ago | 3 / 5 (1) | 2
The individualisation of drug treatments to support patients to self-manage their conditions is a concept that sits at the heart of policy, but a recent study in BMJ Open shows that there is no concrete defini ...
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0