THE VIEW FROM THE ROAD: IMPLICATIONS FOR STRESS RECOVERY AND IMMUNIZATION
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A considerable body of folklore and scientific research alludes to the efficacy of the vernacular environment to influence both aesthetic experience and general well-being. To examine explicitly whether stress recovery and/or immunization varies as a function of the roadside environment, 160 college-age participants, both male and female, viewed one of four different video-taped simulated drives through outdoor environments immediately following and preceding mildly stressful events. Overall, it was anticipated that participants who viewed artifact-dominated drives, relative to participants who viewed nature-dominated drives, would show greater autonomic activity indicative of stress (e.g. elevated blood pressure and electrodermal activity), as well as show altered somatic activity indicative of greater negative affect (e.g. elevated electromyographic (EMG) activity over the brow region and decreased activity over the cheek region). In addition, it was expected that participants who viewed nature-dominated drives would experience quicker recovery from stress and greater immunization to subsequent stress than participants who viewed artifact-dominated drives. The overall pattern of results is consistent with both hypotheses and the findings are interpreted to support postulating a sympathetic-specific mechanism that underlies the effect of nature on stress recovery and immunization. © 1998 Academic Press.
author list (cited authors)
Parsons, R., Tassinary, L. G., Ulrich, R. S., Hebl, M. R., & Grossman-Alexander, M.