The Nature Study

About the Study

 

The Nature Study aims to advance knowledge of the health benefits of time spent outdoors. Our goal is to learn how early life experiences and circumstances shape attitudes toward nature engagement throughout an individual’s life and potential connections to health outcomes.

This initiative began with researchers at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) conducting informal focus groups sessions across the U.S.  These groups explored how individuals think of nature, how their ideas and experiences shape nature-affinity, and how time in nature differs by geography, personal preferences, and demographics.

 

This phase of research will investigate how long short-term changes in cognition, creativity, and mood change remain after spending time in nature.  Your participation will take place entirely on an app we’ve developed to capture ecological momentary assessments—in other words, instantaneous responses—following nature immersion.  

 

Whether or not you are an outdoor enthusiast or want to try a new experience in nature, we invite you to take part in this research. Please find below additional information about our study and register by clicking on the button below.

FAQ

What do I need to do as a study participant?


Participants will engage in two study components:

1) Completing two short surveys related to experiences in and attitudes toward nature of approximately 5 minutes each, to be taken before and one after time in nature.

2) Completing a series of short mental tasks 2x a day for two days prior to going out in nature, and 2x day for 3 consecutive days following return from nature.

Participants will NOT be asked to complete any study tasks during their time in nature, as we know disconnecting from technology is a main attraction of the outdoors.




Who is invited to participate?


Everyone that meets the eligibility criteria (see above). And we would encourage you to invite friends and family to join in. We only need you to go out in nature—anywhere from a walk around your neighborhood to a vacation away. Length of time outdoors is of interest to us, so vary it up.




Who is eligible to participate?


Participants are eligible if they are 14 years of age or older and not diagnosed with color-blindness to be able to complete a color-word cognitive test.




How do I consent to participate in the study?


The consent form saying you freely agree to participate in this research can be found clicking the "Register here" button in this page.




How will the privacy of my study results be maintained?


Individual participant data will be de-identified by name at the beginning of this study, nor will be participant identity be used in subsequent research articles or publications. There will be no direct interaction between researchers and study participants other than initial training to participate in the study.




What will happen with the information generated from my study participation?


Your participation will generate response to inform scientific research measuring the duration of health outcomes which result from nature contact.




Will my time to participate in this study be compensated?


Study participation will not be compensated beyond satisfaction of participating in valid scientific research on the nature-health relationship.




How do I get started?


Just click the register now button at the top of this page. If you are over 14, not color-blind, and among early respondents, you will have the opportunity to participate in the full study beginning September 2021.





Have any other questions?

 

Contact the study manager at thenaturestudy@hsph.harvard.edu

Meet The Team

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Memo Cedeño Laurent, ScD

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Research Associate

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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Jack Spengler, PhD

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Akira Yamaguchi Professor of Environmental Health and Human Habitation

Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health

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Linda Tomasso, MLA

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Doctoral Candidate

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health