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Is variety the spice of life? An experimental investigation into the effects of species richness on self-reported mental well-being

Wolf, Lukas and Weinstein, Netta 2017. Is variety the spice of life? An experimental investigation into the effects of species richness on self-reported mental well-being. Plos One 10.1371/journal.pone.0170225

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Abstract

Losses in biodiversity and trends toward urbanisation have reduced people's contact with biodiverse nature, yet the consequences for mental well-being are not well understood. Here, we demonstrate that greater plant and animal species richness in isolation causes an improvement in mental well-being. To do so, the present research experimentally manipulated species richness and assessed widely-used indicators of mental well-being. Participants viewed short videos of either high or low tree (Study 1) or bird (Study 2) species richness and reported on positive (i.e., vitality, positive affect) and negative (i.e., anxiety) indicators of mental wellbeing. Building on Study 1, Study 2 included an urban environment as a reference treatment and explored the role of giving participants information on the presented environment. We find that, in line with expectations, watching videos containing greater species richness consistently leads to higher mental well-being. We discuss findings in light of the importance of connecting people to biodiverse environments.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Publisher: Public Library of Science
ISSN: 1932-6203
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 January 2017
Date of Acceptance: 31 December 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 09:36
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/97409

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