Can nature make us more caring? Effects of immersion in nature on intrinsic aspirations and generosity

Netta Weinstein, Andrew K. Przybylski, Richard M. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

279 Scopus citations

Abstract

Four studies examined the effects of nature on valuing intrinsic and extrinsic aspirations. Intrinsic aspirations reflected prosocial and other-focused value orientations, and extrinsic aspirations predicted self-focused value orientations. Participants immersed in natural environments reported higher valuing of intrinsic aspirations and lower valuing of extrinsic aspirations, whereas those immersed in non-natural environments reported increased valuing of extrinsic aspirations and no change of intrinsic aspirations. Three studies explored experiences of nature relatedness and autonomy as underlying mechanisms of these effects, showing that nature immersion elicited these processes whereas non-nature immersion thwarted them and that they in turn predicted higher intrinsic and lower extrinsic aspirations. Studies 3 and 4 also extended the paradigm by testing these effects on generous decision making indicative of valuing intrinsic versus extrinsic aspirations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1315-1329
Number of pages15
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume35
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2009

Keywords

  • Aspirations
  • Autonomy
  • Immersion
  • Nature
  • Relatedness

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