Inspired by a notable 2008 study published in Psychological Science that suggested seeing photos of nature may improve attention functioning in young adults, a 2014 study published in Experimental Aging Research found that executive attention visibly improved in both older adults (64 to 79 year olds) and university-aged subjects (18 to 25 year olds) after short exposure to photos of nature. Good news for city dwellers with less access to nature: the participants’ attention immediately prior to and after seeing the nature photos was measured, and the study found that seeing those pictures did improve short-term attention and memory in both age groups.
Considering that nearly 70% of the global population is projected to be living in urban areas by the year 2050, according to the UN, it's important to recognize the impact that even a few moments out in nature can have on peoples' overall well-being. Whether it involves planning a weekend camping trip, or simply going for a stroll outside during lunch, sneaking in some time outdoors is probably a good idea.
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