Exposure to natural environments can promote recovery from mental fatigue and restore cognitive resources. However, previous research has tended to compare the restorative potential of hospitable natural environments, such as lakes, with the restorative potential of harsh built environments, such as streets with traffic. Thus, it has overlooked the potential restorativeness of hospitable built environments such as libraries, or the potentially limited restorativeness of harsh natural environments, such as deserts. Moreover, studies on perceived restorativeness have traditionally focused on four basic dimensions identified by Attention Restoration Theory (ART); being away, fascination, compatibility, and extent. However, they have scarcely considered two other relevant dimensions: opportunity for reflection (also identified by ART) and feeling of safety. Additionally, there is limited empirical evidence on the relationship between basic ART dimensions, reflection, and overall perceived restorativeness. In our study, we hypothesized that (1) cluster analysis would support categorizing 12 natural and 12 built environments into four clusters (hospitable natural, harsh natural, hospitable built, harsh built), based on ratings of the six abovementioned dimensions of perceived restorativeness, (2) ratings of ART dimensions, as summarized by a Perceived Restorativeness Scale (PRS) score, reflection, and safety would predict overall perceived restorativeness, and (3) opportunity for reflection would partially mediate the relationship of the PRS score and safety with overall perceived restorativeness. We identified the four expected clusters of environments, plus a fifth cluster of functional built environments. While hospitable natural environments showed the greatest overall perceived restorativeness, hospitable built places were rated as more restorative than harsh natural ones, indicating that the distinction between natural and built environments may be too simplistic. Path analysis indicated that PRS score, reflection, and safety predict overall perceived restorativeness. Moreover, reflection partially mediated the relationship of PRS score, and safety in some environments, with overall perceived restorativeness.

Into the wild or into the library? Perceived restorativeness of natural and built environments

Stragà, Marta;Miani, Clara;Del Missier, Fabio
2023-01-01

Abstract

Exposure to natural environments can promote recovery from mental fatigue and restore cognitive resources. However, previous research has tended to compare the restorative potential of hospitable natural environments, such as lakes, with the restorative potential of harsh built environments, such as streets with traffic. Thus, it has overlooked the potential restorativeness of hospitable built environments such as libraries, or the potentially limited restorativeness of harsh natural environments, such as deserts. Moreover, studies on perceived restorativeness have traditionally focused on four basic dimensions identified by Attention Restoration Theory (ART); being away, fascination, compatibility, and extent. However, they have scarcely considered two other relevant dimensions: opportunity for reflection (also identified by ART) and feeling of safety. Additionally, there is limited empirical evidence on the relationship between basic ART dimensions, reflection, and overall perceived restorativeness. In our study, we hypothesized that (1) cluster analysis would support categorizing 12 natural and 12 built environments into four clusters (hospitable natural, harsh natural, hospitable built, harsh built), based on ratings of the six abovementioned dimensions of perceived restorativeness, (2) ratings of ART dimensions, as summarized by a Perceived Restorativeness Scale (PRS) score, reflection, and safety would predict overall perceived restorativeness, and (3) opportunity for reflection would partially mediate the relationship of the PRS score and safety with overall perceived restorativeness. We identified the four expected clusters of environments, plus a fifth cluster of functional built environments. While hospitable natural environments showed the greatest overall perceived restorativeness, hospitable built places were rated as more restorative than harsh natural ones, indicating that the distinction between natural and built environments may be too simplistic. Path analysis indicated that PRS score, reflection, and safety predict overall perceived restorativeness. Moreover, reflection partially mediated the relationship of PRS score, and safety in some environments, with overall perceived restorativeness.
2023
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https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272494423001792
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3057618
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