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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Noticing nature : individual and social benefits of a two-week photography intervention Passmore, Holli-Anne


Bivariate relationships have previously been established between exposure to nature and individual well-being, prosocial behaviour, and a general sense of connectedness, and between a general sense of connectedness and connectedness to nature. However, no model has been proposed to account for the patterning of these bivariate relationships. Research examining the relationship between exposure to nature and materialism is also lacking. The present research addressed these gaps by: a) manipulating the degree to which participants noticed and paid attention to nature over a two-week period; b) measuring participants' levels of post-intervention well-being (i.e., net-positive affect, elevating feelings, and sense of meaning), general connectedness, prosocial behaviour, and materialism; and, c) examining the pattern of relationships between these variables. Participants were randomly assigned to take photographs of either natural or built scenes/features that evoked in them strong emotions, or they were assigned to a no-photograph control condition. Participants uploaded their photos to a research website and indicated what feelings were evoked by the scenes. Following the two-week period, participants completed post-intervention measures of the dependent variables. Results showed that noticing nature over the course of a two-week period had beneficial individual and social effects. Post-intervention levels of well-being (i.e., net-positive affect and feelings related to elevation), general connectedness, and prosocial behaviour were higher for participants in the nature condition, compared to participants in the built and control conditions. These effects were not moderated by trait levels of connectedness to nature or engagement with beauty, nor were they moderated by dosage of nature. Post-intervention levels of sense of meaning and materialism did not differ between conditions. Mediation analyses did not reveal significant mediation pathways.

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