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Exposure to Green, Blue and Historic Environments and Mental Well-Being: A Comparison between Virtual Reality Head-Mounted Display and Flat Screen Exposure

1
Centre for Public Health and Wellbeing, University of the West of England, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK
2
Erasmus Centre for Urban, Port and Transport Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, 3062 PA Rotterdam, The Netherlands
3
College of Education, School of Teaching and Learning, Institute of Advanced Learning Technologies, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
4
Department of Education and Childhood, Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education, University of the West of England, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK
5
Psychological Sciences Research Group, University of the West of England, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(15), 9457; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159457
Received: 6 July 2022 / Revised: 28 July 2022 / Accepted: 29 July 2022 / Published: 2 August 2022
Improving the mental health of urban residents is a global public health priority. This study builds on existing work that demonstrates the ability of virtual exposure to restorative environments to improve population mental health. It compares the restorative effects of green, blue and historic environments delivered by both flat screen and immersive virtual reality technology, and triangulates data from psychological, physiological and qualitative sources. Results from the subjective measure analyses showed that exposures to all the experimental videos were associated with self-reported reduced anxiety and improved mood, although the historic environment was associated with a smaller reduction of anxiety (p < 0.01). These results were supported by the qualitative accounts. For two of the electroencephalography (EEG) frequency bands, higher levels of activity were observed for historic environments. In relation to the mode of delivery, the subjective measures did not suggest any effect, while for the EEG analyses there was evidence of a significant effect of technology across three out of four frequency bands. In conclusion, this study adds to the evidence that the benefits of restorative environments can be delivered through virtual exposure and suggests that virtual reality may provide greater levels of immersion than flat screen viewing. View Full-Text
Keywords: restorative environments; well-being; natural and built environments; historic environments; anxiety; EEG; virtual reality; 360-degree video; immersive technology restorative environments; well-being; natural and built environments; historic environments; anxiety; EEG; virtual reality; 360-degree video; immersive technology
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MDPI and ACS Style

Reece, R.; Bornioli, A.; Bray, I.; Newbutt, N.; Satenstein, D.; Alford, C. Exposure to Green, Blue and Historic Environments and Mental Well-Being: A Comparison between Virtual Reality Head-Mounted Display and Flat Screen Exposure. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 9457. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159457

AMA Style

Reece R, Bornioli A, Bray I, Newbutt N, Satenstein D, Alford C. Exposure to Green, Blue and Historic Environments and Mental Well-Being: A Comparison between Virtual Reality Head-Mounted Display and Flat Screen Exposure. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(15):9457. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159457

Chicago/Turabian Style

Reece, Rebecca, Anna Bornioli, Isabelle Bray, Nigel Newbutt, David Satenstein, and Chris Alford. 2022. "Exposure to Green, Blue and Historic Environments and Mental Well-Being: A Comparison between Virtual Reality Head-Mounted Display and Flat Screen Exposure" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 15: 9457. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159457

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