The Roles of Biophilic Attitudes and Auditory Stimuli within Attention Restoration Theory

Jason B. Boggs


Attention Restoration Theory indicates that interacting with nature allows one’s fatigued, directed attention to be restored. This effect has been documented and produced through directed interaction with nature, such as a walk in the park, as well as through indirect interactions (e.g., photographs). The current dissertation was designed to: 1) investigate whether and how biophilic attitudes affect the attention-restoring effects incurred from interactions with nature, and 2) extend the research on ART by assessing the impact of nature-related audio stimuli. A total of 184 participants completed an assessment of biophilic attitudes, engaged in attention fatiguing exercises, and participated in one of five intervention conditions where they viewed photographs of nature, viewed photographs of nature and listened to nature sounds simultaneously, viewed photographs of nature and listened to classical music, listened to classical music, or viewed urban photographs before completing an attentional diagnostic instrument and a proof-reading task. My results indicated that neither visual nor auditory interactions with nature had a significant effect on attention restoration; nor did biophilic attitudes interact with intervention condition to influence attention restoration. Viewing photographs of nature did, however, have a significant effect on the perceived restorativeness of the scenes and sounds experienced.