NATURE shows can lift viewers’ moods and reduce lockdown boredom, experts say.
High-quality TV images slashed negative feelings — while watching in virtual reality had even larger benefits.
Lead researcher Nicky Yeo said: “With people around the world facing limited access to outdoor environments, this study suggests nature programmes might offer an accessible way to benefit from a dose of digital nature.”
The Exeter University study, under lab conditions, first saw boredom induced in 96 volunteers.
They then experienced scenes of an underwater coral reef — on TV, in a VR headset using 360-degree video, or in a VR headset using computer-generated interactive graphics.
The team worked with the BBC Natural History Unit, featuring several scenes from Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II series. It included unseen 360-degree footage.
‘PROTECT & PRESERVE’
All viewing methods slashed negative feelings such as sadness and cut boredom.
The interactive VR also increased positive feelings, like happiness, and strengthened how connected people felt to nature.
Dr Mathew White said: “We’re particularly excited by the additional benefits immersive experiences of nature might provide.
“Virtual reality could help boost the wellbeing of people who can’t readily access the natural world, such as those in hospital or long-term care.
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“But it might also help protect and preserve nature in the real world.”
The study, published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, coincides with the launch of The Sun’s Green Team campaign.
We are asking Brits to make simple changes to help save the planet — and money too.
Join The Sun’s ‘Green Team’ & save the planet
MAKING simple everyday changes can add up to a BIG difference to the planet.
And we want you and your family to join The Sun’s Green Team – our eco revolution.
It can feel overwhelming to know how to play a part in reducing greenhouse gasses, but we will be showing you the practical steps we can take to curb climate change – with the help of the global ‘Count Us In’ initiative.
And our easy measures will even help you SAVE money so your household budget goes further.
We’ll help you to reduce food waste, insulate your home, create tasty planet-friendly meals and take simple steps to trim your carbon footprint.
We want you to go online to sign-up to as many of our special Green Team pledges as you can manage and a special calculator will show you how much carbon you will personally save.
It won’t cost you a penny but the total you and your family will save will be added to the global ‘Count Us In’ total and the platform will support you every step of the way.
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