Primary Menu

Education, Events, Publication

Funding & Recognition

Effects of Natural and Urban Imagery on Error-Related Negativity

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Marin Macfarlane

Attention Restoration Theory (ART) proposes that urban environments deplete our attentional resources and natural environments counteract this depletion by allowing our attentional system to rest and recuperate (Kaplan, 1995). Previous research supports the cognitive and physiological benefits of immersion in nature as well as viewing nature imagery, but little research has utilized brain-imaging to investigate the neural mechanisms underlying these benefits. In the present study, we use electroencephalography (EEG) to investigate the effects of viewing nature imagery in comparison to urban imagery on the Error-Related Negativity (ERN), a component of the Event-Related Potential (ERP) related to cognitive control and attention network (AN) activity. Previous research has shown an increase in the ERN amplitude during immersion in nature compared to immersion in an urban environment, indicative of an increase in cognitive control capacity during immersion in nature. We similarly used EEG to measure amplitude of the ERN elicited by a Flanker task after participants viewed either nature or urban imagery to see if just images of nature would have the same effect. We predicted an increase in the ERN amplitude for the nature imagery condition compared to the urban imagery condition. We found no statistically significant difference in ERN amplitude between the nature and urban imagery conditions, suggesting that the benefits of viewing nature imagery may not have the same neural mechanisms as immersion in nature. Future research could investigate whether viewing nature imagery for longer periods of time may be necessary to significantly influence the ERN.
University / Institution: University of Utah
Type: Poster
Format: In Person
Presentation #C45
SESSION C (1:45-3:15PM)
Area of Research: Social Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Amy McDonnell