As technology becomes increasingly ingrained in everyday life, scholars have begun wondering what’s being lost as a result.
A new analysis from the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the London Business School suggests that our closest cultural artifacts – books, films, songs – may hold the answer. In a paper recently published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, the team discovered a steady decrease in works of music, literature and film referencing the natural world.
The findings are a part of a larger conversation about humans’ relationship with their environment – a growing body of research links exposure to the natural world with higher levels of well-being. For example, one study showed that hospital patients recover better after surgery if their rooms have a view of flowers and trees. Office spaces that have natural views are linked to workers who are more buffered from work strain. Our exposure to nature, whether it’s looking at a painting or taking a lunchtime walk through a park, can result in faster stress recovery, improved cognitive functioning, increased prosocial behaviors and better mental health.