Exposure to natural landscapes can benefit human health. However, several knowledge gaps remain regarding the impacts of duration and cultural differences on the health benefits of nature. If these gaps are filled, designers and planners can better design landscapes for stress recovery. This study examined the effects of durations of virtual exposure to the built and natural environments across three countries using an experimental design. Two-hundred and seventy people from USA, Taiwan, and Thailand were induced with an acute stressor and then randomly assigned to watch 360° videos of urban or natural landscapes for 1, 5, or 15 min. Self-reported stress recovery data were collected before and after the exposure. The results suggested that gender and duration of exposure to virtual natural landscapes impacted stress recovery. Female participants recovered from stress more when exposed to the virtual natural landscapes than urban landscapes. Among those participants who were exposed to virtual natural landscapes, 5 min of exposure resulted in greater stress recovery than shorter or longer durations of exposure. Perceived familiarity did not influence the extent of stress recovery. These findings support previous research on how nature exposure is related to stress recovery and varies by dosage, leading to better understanding toward landscape design. Future studies should explore other measures of stress, different landscape designs, participants’ immersion, and levels of control in simulated nature scenes.
- Environmental psychology
- Nature contact
- Stress reduction theory
- Virtual reality
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law