Nowadays many people spend lots of time indoor. Different social medias are taking away our opportunities to go out and explore the nature. Today’s children only spend around 20 minutes per day outside and this time continues to drop. The number of visits in both national parks and nature-based recreation has decline since 1980s. The modern life we are living now is much better than the one our ancestors had, but are we not missing out the benefits the beautiful nature might give us?
The study by Strayer and University of Kansas psychologists Ruth Ann Atchley and Paul Atchley has shown that immersion in natural settings could improve creativity. The study involved 56 people, with 30 men and 26 women at an average age of 28. These study objects were divided into 8 different groups to participate in hiking trips without any technology from 4 days to 6 days in Alaska, Colorado, Maine and Washington state. Among these 8 groups, 4 groups (pre-hike groups) took a 10-item creativity test the morning before the trip and the other 4 groups (in-hike groups) took the same test the morning of the fourth day. The in-hike groups had a much higher average score on the test – they got a 6.08 compared to a 4.14. There are actually two factors in this experiment – nature and technology. There is no direct evidence to determine whether the study objects’ problem solving ability is improved by the increased exposure to nature or decreased exposure to technology. However, the researchers believe that these two factors are strongly interrelated to each other that they are often seen as two sides of a coin.
It does not matter whether nature immersion experience directly or indirectly, by reduce use of technology, affects one’s creativity. What really matters is that we need to understand how important it is for us to connect with the nature. Richard Louv, the author of Last Child in the Woods and The Natural Principle, believes that connection to nature should be seen as a human right. I agree with him. I think today we are trying so hard to draw the line between nature and the human society but we forget the fact that we are also part of nature. I really appreciate the opportunities like hiking in the desert or sitting in the woods for twenty minutes. It helps me to feel connected to the nature.
Trekking in Wadi Rum, Jordan
Atchley RA, Strayer DL, Atchley P (2012) Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings. PLoS ONE 7(12): e51474. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051474
Howard, Brian Clark, ed. “Connecting With Nature Boosts Creativity and Health.” National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2014. <http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/06/130628-richard-louv-nature-deficit-disorder-health-environment/>.
“Nature Nurtures Creativity.” U News Center. U of Utah, n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2014. <http://unews.utah.edu/news_releases/nature-nurtures-creativity-2/>.