Nature Makes Us Smarter, So City Folk Are...

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2009 7:07 PM CST
The peloton makes their way during stage thirteen of the 2008 Tour de France from Narbonne to Nimes on July 18, 2008 in Narbonne, France.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Watching bears eat spiders on TV is fun, but do nature shows help restore our lost link with the natural world? Studies show that screen images of the great outdoors help workers relax and think clearly; an actual window onto leafy environs helps them destress even faster. "But what exactly is being restored by such immediate connection with nature?" writes Wray Herbert in Newsweek. "Or, put another way, what are we missing without these experiences?"

One psychologist sought an answer by taking some people on nature walks, and others through downtown Ann Arbor, before a cognitive test. The nature folk fared better for letting their analytic powers rejuvenate in a relaxed setting. With most Americans now living in cities, "this could emerge as one of the most compelling psychological issues of the not-so-faraway future," writes Herbert.