Nature Makes You Nicer

People more focused on others when primed with natural imagery, research shows
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2009 4:55 PM CDT
Tourists walk in front of Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina's Patagonia region.    (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Being around the natural world or representations of it makes you a better person, Miller-McCune reports. A study finds that people shown slides of natural landscapes rated community-oriented goals—such as “to work for the betterment of society”—as more important to them than self-oriented goals—for example, “to be financially successful.” Those shown cityscape slides, by contrast, prioritized selfish goals.

Tests involving a “funds distribution” game also found that nature-primed individuals were more generous than those shown cityscapes. It may be that “nature affords individuals the chance to follow their interests and reduces pressures, fears … and social expectations,” the researchers wrote in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin—while man-made settings have the opposite effect.