Psychological Effects of Resting in Natural Environments: Improved choice reaction time and more efficient heart rate restoration as a function of resting with a window view of nature
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- Institutt for psykologi 
Research indicates that natural environments can induce restorative effects on cognitive capacity and autonomic arousal, yielding improvements in cognitive functioning and more efficient heart rate restoration. The present study investigates differences in choice reaction time (CRT) and heart rate variability (HRV) in students (N=10) resting with or without a window view of a natural environment after a minor physical exertion. Subjects performed a pre-test of a Deary-Liewald choice reaction time task before pedaling a stationary spinning bike for five minutes, followed by 10 minutes of resting in a chair with either a window view of a forest dominated hillside and field land, or a neutral view of a plain interior wall. Subjects’ heart rate variability was measured during the 10 minutes of rest, and post-test of the choice reaction time task was performed immediately after resting. Subjects elicited significantly larger improvement in CRTs after resting with a window view of natural environment, compared to resting with a neutral view. In addition, resting with a window view yielded significantly more efficient heart rate restoration, demonstrated by shorter heart rate restoration times. These results advance prior research by demonstrating both cognitive and physiological benefits of natural environments as a function of the same experimental manipulation, and offers support to both the attention restoration theory and the biophilia theory.