Helping Nature: The Impact of Exposure to Nature on Prosociality and Sustainability

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Capaldi, Colin A.




The biophilia hypothesis states that humans have an innate need to connect with nature because it was evolutionarily adaptive for our survival. Research shows that nature exposure provides many physical and psychological benefits, and that nature relatedness is positively associated with environmentalism and well-being. Preliminary evidence suggests that nature exposure may also be linked to increased prosociality and sustainable behaviours. Study 1 found that viewing videos of pleasant and unpleasant nature had a similar positive impact on connectedness to nature, concern for others, and
willingness to engage in proenvironmental behaviours. In contrast, participants exposed to nature in Study 2 were less likely to volunteer to help someone and results concerning interest in sustainability were inconclusive. Multiple methodological and theoretical explanations were discussed to account for these ambiguous findings. Meta-analyses
of relevant studies suggested that, on average, nature exposure does cause increased prosociality and sustainability.


Psychology - Social
Psychology - Experimental
Psychology - Personality




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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