Do natural landscapes reduce future discounting in humans?

  • van der Wal A
  • Schade H
  • Krabbendam L
 et al. 
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Abstract

An important barrier to enduring behavioural change is the human tendency to discount the future. Drawing on evolutionary theories of life history and biophilia, this study investigates whether exposure to natural versus urban landscapes affects people's temporal discount rates. The results of three studies, two laboratory experiments and a field study reveal that individual discount rates are systematically lower after people have been exposed to scenes of natural environments as opposed to urban environments. Further, this effect is owing to people placing more value on the future after nature exposure. The finding that nature exposure reduces future discounting-as opposed to exposure to urban environments-conveys important implications for a range of personal and collective outcomes including healthy lifestyles, sustainable resource use and population growth.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Biophilia
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Life history
  • Nature
  • Sustainabili
  • Temporal discounting

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Authors

  • Arianne J. van der Wal

  • Hannah M. Schade

  • Lydia Krabbendam

  • Mark van Vugt

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