Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Dr. Alan Salmoni


Attention Restoration Theory (ART) predicts that top-down processing during everyday activities can cause attentional fatigue and that bottom-up processing that occurs when people experience nature will be restorative (Kaplan, 1995). The present study examined this prediction by exposing participants to three different conditions using a repeated measures design: a control condition during which participants walked on a typical treadmill, a nature/restorative condition during which participants walked on the same treadmill, experiencing a simulated nature walk, and a perturbation condition that included the same simulated nature scene but also required top-down processing during the walk. The findings supported ART predictions. As measured by the backwards digit span test, the nature condition produced a significant improvement in directed attention performance compared to the control and perturbation conditions that did not. Natural or simulated natural environments could be implemented throughout University campuses to support a more effective learning environment for students.