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The Prefrontal Cortex Activity and Psychological Effects of Viewing Forest Landscapes in Autumn Season

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Department of Environment and Forest Resources, Chungnam National University, 99 Daehak-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-764, Korea
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Department of Applied Biology, Chungnam National University, 99 Daehak-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-764, Korea
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Department of Nursing, Eulji University, Daejeon 301-746, Korea
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Department of Psychiatry, Seoul Paik Hospital, Inje University, School of Medicine, Seoul 100-032, Korea
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Stress Research Institute, Inje University, Seoul 100-032, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(7), 7235-7243; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120707235
Received: 24 April 2015 / Revised: 3 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 26 June 2015
Recently reported research indicate that forest environments have physiological and psychological relaxing effects compared to urban environments. However, some researchers claim that the stress of the subjects from being watched by others during measurements can affect the measurement result in urban experiments conducted in the center of a street. The present study was conducted to determine whether forest environments have physiological and psychological relaxing effects, using comparison of viewing a forest area with viewing an urban area from the roof of an urban building without being watched by others. Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) measurement was performed on subjects while they viewed scenery for 15 min at each experimental site (urban and forest areas). Subjective assessments were performed after the NIRS measurement was complete. Total hemoglobin and oxyhemoglobin concentrations were significantly lower in the forest area than in the urban area. For semantic differential in subjective assessments, feelings of “comfortable”, “natural”, and “soothed” were significantly higher in the forest area than in the urban area, and for profile of mood states, negative emotions were significantly lower in the forest area than in the urban area. The results of physiological and psychological measurements show that viewing the forest enabled effective relaxation. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest therapy; near-infrared spectroscopy; prefrontal cortex activity; hemoglobin concentration; semantic differential method; profile of mood states forest therapy; near-infrared spectroscopy; prefrontal cortex activity; hemoglobin concentration; semantic differential method; profile of mood states
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Joung, D.; Kim, G.; Choi, Y.; Lim, H.; Park, S.; Woo, J.-M.; Park, B.-J. The Prefrontal Cortex Activity and Psychological Effects of Viewing Forest Landscapes in Autumn Season. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 7235-7243.

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