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
Nature Makes You Nicer
Tourists walk in front of Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina's Patagonia region.    (AP Photo)

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. (Read more nature stories.)

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