Greener neighborhoods may be good for children's brains
Children living in urban greener neighborhoods may have better spatial working memory, according to a British Journal of Educational Psychology study. Spatial working memory is responsible for recording information about one's environment and spatial orientation, and it is strongly inter-related with attentional control.
In the study of 4758 11-year-olds living in urban areas in England, lower quantity of neighborhood greenspace was related to poorer spatial working memory, and this relationship held in both deprived and non-deprived neighborhoods.
"Our findings suggest a positive role of greenspace in cognitive functioning. Spatial working memory is an important cognitive ability that is strongly related with academic achievement in children, particularly mathematics performance," said corresponding author Dr. Eirini Flouri, of University College London. "If the association we established between neighborhood greenspace and children's spatial working memory is causal, then our findings can be used to inform decisions about both education and urban planning."
More information: Eirini Flouri et al, The role of neighbourhood greenspace in children's spatial working memory, British Journal of Educational Psychology (2018). DOI: 10.1111/bjep.12243