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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(10), 10883-10901; doi:10.3390/ijerph111010883

Impact of Viewing vs. Not Viewing a Real Forest on Physiological and Psychological Responses in the Same Setting

1
Division of Human Environmental Science, Mt. Fuji Research Institute, 5597-1, Kami-Yoshida, Fuji-Yoshida City, Yamanashi 4030005, Japan
2
Department of Forest Management, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, 1 Matsuno-sato, Tsukuba City, Ibaraki 305-8687, Japan
3
Fuji Iyashinomoroi Woodland Study Center, The University of Tokyo, Yamanaka 341-2, Yamanakako Village, Minami-tsuru, Yamanashi 4010501, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 July 2014 / Revised: 8 October 2014 / Accepted: 14 October 2014 / Published: 20 October 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Benefits of Nature)
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Abstract

We investigated the impact of viewing versus not viewing a real forest on human subjects’ physiological and psychological responses in the same setting. Fifteen healthy volunteers (11 males, four females, mean age 36 years) participated. Each participant was asked to view a forest while seated in a comfortable chair for 15 min (Forest condition) vs. sitting the same length of time with a curtain obscuring the forest view (Enclosed condition). Both conditions significantly decreased blood pressure (BP) variables, i.e., systolic BP, diastolic BP, and mean arterial pressure between pre and post experimental stimuli, but these reductions showed no difference between conditions. Interestingly, the Forest viewing reduced cerebral oxygenated hemoglobin (HbO2) assessed by near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and improved the subjects’ Profile of Mood States (POMS) scores, whereas the Enclosed condition increased the HbO2 and did not affect the POMS scores. There were no significant differences in saliva amylase or heart rate variability (HRV) between the two conditions. Collectively, these results suggest that viewing a real forest may have a positive effect on cerebral activity and psychological responses. However, both viewing and not viewing the forest had similar effects on cardiovascular responses such as BP variables and HRV. View Full-Text
Keywords: blood pressure; cerebral oxygenation; mood states; visual stimulation; environmental planning blood pressure; cerebral oxygenation; mood states; visual stimulation; environmental planning
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Horiuchi, M.; Endo, J.; Takayama, N.; Murase, K.; Nishiyama, N.; Saito, H.; Fujiwara, A. Impact of Viewing vs. Not Viewing a Real Forest on Physiological and Psychological Responses in the Same Setting. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 10883-10901.

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