The benefits of nature : resource replenishment or resource expansion?


Beute, F. & Kort, de, Y.A.W. (2013). The benefits of nature : resource replenishment or resource expansion?. Read more: Medialink/Full text



Exposure to nature can help restore mood, physiological response, and executive functioning after induction of stress and attention fatigue. Attention restoration theory (ART; Kaplan, 1995) provides an explanation for nature’s beneficial effects after depletion of a limited resource necessary to direct attention. Several authors have pointed to similarities between ART and ego-depletion theory (Baumeister, 1998), a theory originating from social psychology which holds that exerting self-control relies on a limited resource. They postulate that the limited resources in both theories are very similar. However, no empirical evidence for this claim has been provided yet. Two studies will be presented testing possible ego-replenishing effects of nature by employing a typical ego-depletion paradigm. In the second study, we further investigated whether beneficial effects of nature can also occur when no resource is depleted. In other words, can natural environments replenish the ego as well as expand the self’s resources? One study has already hinted at buffering effects of nature on stress (Parsons et al., 1998). Results of both studies provide evidence for ego-replenishing effects of nature. Furthermore, some indications were found for resource expanding effects of nature. Nature, thus, might not only help us overcome depletion and stress, but might help us deal with future stressors and depletion as well.