• Author / Creator
    Kuziek, Jonathan WP
  • Demands on directed attention can result in attentional fatigue, inhibiting our ability to voluntarily direct attention to important features of our surroundings. Inherently fascinating environments, such as nature, have been shown to promote recovery of attention. Environments that do not possess these restorative qualities, such as urban settings, by comparison do not promote recovery. Previous research has demonstrated numerous benefits associated with exposure to nature including improved physiological and mental health, and increased performance in attention tasks. Limited, if any, research has directly demonstrated the neurological correlates of recovery associated with nature. The goal of the current research was to utilise the P3 cognitive component of the event-related potential (ERP), which has been shown to be modulated by attentional demands, as a cognitive marker indicative of attentional recovery. We measured electroencephalography (EEG) data while participants simultaneously completed an auditory oddball task and viewed pictures containing nature and urban scenes. A replication was also performed using the Attention Network Task (ANT) to show that the restorative qualities of nature influence executive, voluntary attention rather than involuntary attention. Contrary to our predictions, no significant differences in the P3 component were observed and we were unable to successfully replicate previous research using the ANT. However, significant differences were found in earlier EEG components which suggest that the auditory stimuli are being processed differently depending on the scene displayed. EEG differences were also found following presentation of the scenes themselves. These differences are consistent with previous research and are likely due to differences in complexity, contrast, and other visual characteristics. Further research needs to focus on these auditory and visual EEG differences to better understand neural correlates associated with the restorative benefits of natural environments.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2017-11:Fall 2017
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Psychology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Mathewson, Kyle (Psychology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Chapman, Craig (Physical Education and Recreation)
    • Singhal, Anthony (Psychology)
    • Caplan, Jeremy (Psychology)