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Your Heart's Desire: The Unmediated Outdoors

Peter Kahn, a psychology professor at the University of Washington, has just given us further proof that unmediated access to nature is good for...




Peter Kahn, a psychology professor at the University of Washington, has just given us further proof that unmediated access to nature is good for you. Kahn gave 90 subjects a series of stressful tasks and then measured their heart rates to gauge recovery time between efforts.

"One group recovered between tasks near a window that provided a view of the outdoors. Another recovered near a high-definition plasma screen that displayed the same view."

Kahn's study found that heart rates returned to normal more quickly when subjects could see the real outdoors, rather than a video feed on a screen. Apparently the knowledge that you're actually in a pleasant environment, rather than just receiving images of one, has real, positive psychosomatic effects. We wonder if heart rate recovery varies depending on just how pleasant the natural scene is.

Photo of "Nature's Window" in Australia from here.