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Title:The impact of exposure to restorative settings and laptop use on cognitive functioning
Author(s):Schmillen, Rose M
Advisor(s):Sullivan, William
Contributor(s):Emmerling-DiNovo, Carol; Jiang, Bin
Department / Program:Landscape Architecture
Discipline:Landscape Architecture
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:M.A.
Genre:Thesis
Subject(s):Attention Restoration Theory, Nature
Abstract:Many studies have shown the restorative effects of green spaces on people's capacity to pay attention. But in these studies, participants had no distractions to direct their attention elsewhere. In many green spaces today, however, many people have a common distraction – the screen on their laptop computer or mobile device. The goal of this study was to examine the extent to which the benefits of green spaces on attention restoration are in any way compromised by laptop use. If a person is constantly looking at his or her laptop and not at the surroundings, will they gain the restorative benefits of being exposed to nature? To answer this question, we conducted a controlled randomized experiment with 81 adults at eight different outdoor locations on the University of Illinois campus: four were devoid of vegetation and four included views to vegetation. Participants were further randomly assigned to either use their laptop computers for leisure activities or to sit and relax without using their computers. Students in the green view condition who did not use their laptops scored significantly higher on tests of attentional functioning than their peers in the other three conditions. There were no significant differences in attentional functioning after the break among participants in the green view-laptop condition or the two barren conditions. The findings establish a set of causal relationships: when individuals use green outdoor environments without engaging with their laptop computers, their attentional functioning improves; however, we found no significantly restorative impact of green outdoor environments on attention functioning when laptops were used.
Issue Date:2016-07-20
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/92968
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Rose Schmillen
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-11-10
Date Deposited:2016-08


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