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Nature exposure has been found to alleviate mental fatigue and increase performance on tasks requiring focused attention and working memory. Performance in various sports is impacted by mental fatigue and degree of focused attention. While nature-based interventions have been tested on cognitive-performance outcomes and have been utilized in the general population, a link has not been investigated in relation to the potential benefits on athletic performance—particularly when being in a state of mental fatigue. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a nature-based intervention on cognitive-perceptual-motor performance more relevant to athletic performance, in an experimental study with three measurement-time points. Specifically, it was hypothesized that a brief exposure to virtual nature following a mentally-fatiguing task would lead to an improvement in cognitive-perceptual-motor performance. This would be measurable through faster response time, higher response accuracy (both perceptual-motor tasks), and higher backward digit-span score (cognitive task), compared to a brief exposure to virtual urban environments. Participants were 81 undergraduate and graduate students. Results from a series of mixed ANOVAs showed no significant differences in actual performance improvements between the two groups, and no differences in self-reported mental effort and fatigue, although the nature group indicated feeling more mentally restored and rejuvenated following the intervention. Findings are discussed in light of benefits of nature to human performance, and more specifically, in light of this particular experimental design.
attention, concentration, focus, nature, performance, sport psychology
Date of Defense
May 27, 2020.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Graig M. Chow, Professor Co-Directing Dissertation; David W. Eccles, Professor Co-Directing Dissertation; Lynn B. Panton, University Representative; Yanyun Yang, Committee Member; James Klein, Committee Member.
Florida State University
Soendergaard, S. (2020). Effects of Nature Exposure on Cognitive-Perceptual-Motor Performance. Retrieved from https://purl.lib.fsu.edu/diginole/2020_Summer_Fall_Soendergaard_fsu_0071E_16071