Kaplan

In: People

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Journal of Ell viron mental Psychology (1995) 15, 169-182
© 1995 Academic Press Limited

0272-4944/95/030169+ 14$12.0010

~ ENVIRONMENTAL

~ P~Y~HOLOGY

THE RESTORATIVE BENEFITS OF NATURE:

TOWARD AN INTEGRATIVE FRAM~WORK

STEPHEN KAPLAN

Department ofPsychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, !ll148109-1109, U.$.A.

Abstract
Directed attention plays an important role in human information processing; its fatigue, in turn, has far­ reaching consequences. Attention Restoration Theory provides an analysis of the kinds of experiences that lead to recovery from such fatigue. Natural environments turn out to be particularly rich in the character­ istics necessary for restorative experiences. An integrative framework is proposed that places both directed attention and stress in the larger context of human-environment relationships.
© 1995 Academic Press Limited

Introduction
Evidence pointing to the psychological benefits of nature has accumulated at a remarkable rate in a relatively short period of time. Whether a theoreti­ cal understanding of these restorative influences has kept pace with the empirical work is, however, less clear. As Hartig and Evans (1993) have pointed out, theory in' this area has been dominated by con­ flicting positions, one enlphasizing stress reduction
(Ulrich, 1983) and the other concerned with recov­ ery of the capacity to focus attention (Kaplan &
Talbot, 1983; Kaplan & Kaplan, 1989). While it might be argued that these positions are hopelessly far apart, Hartig and Evans hold out hope for a syn­ thesis. The purpose of this paper is to propose a way in which such an integration might be achieved.
A synthesis requires first that there be something to synthesize. There must be entities or ideas dis­ tinct enough and useful enough to warrant syn­ thesis. One piece of this is simple to achieve;…...

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