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An assessment of psychological noise reduction by landscape plants.

Yang F, Bao ZY, Zhu ZJ - Int J Environ Res Public Health (2011)

Bottom Line: This trip environment encourages residents to make trip choices that reduce fuel consumption and pollution and is one of the most important ways of popularizing green transportation.We detected and recorded EEG values with a portable electroencephalograph, and a comparison between the results of the two groups revealed that there was a highly significant asymmetry between the EEG activity of the vegetation scene and traffic scene groups.The results suggest that the emotions aroused by noise and visual stimuli are manifested in the synchronization of beta frequency band and the desynchronization of alpha frequency band, indicating that landscape plants can moderate or buffer the effects of noise.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: College of Agriculture & Biotechnology, Zhejiang University, 268 Kaixuan Road, Hangzhou 310029, China. yf19843611@163.com

ABSTRACT
The emphasis in the term 'Green Transportation' is on the word 'green'. Green transportation focuses on the construction of a slow transport system with a visually pleasing, easy and secure trip environment composed of urban parks, green roadside spaces and some other space that is full of landscape plants. This trip environment encourages residents to make trip choices that reduce fuel consumption and pollution and is one of the most important ways of popularizing green transportation. To study the psychological benefits provided by urban parks and other landscape environments, we combined a subjective approach (a questionnaire) with an objective quantitative approach (emotional tests using an electroencephalogram; EEG). Using a questionnaire survey, we found that 90% of the subjects believed that landscape plants contribute to noise reduction and that 55% overrated the plants' actual ability to attenuate noise. Two videos (showing a traffic scene and a plant scene) were shown to 40 participants on video glasses. We detected and recorded EEG values with a portable electroencephalograph, and a comparison between the results of the two groups revealed that there was a highly significant asymmetry between the EEG activity of the vegetation scene and traffic scene groups. The results suggest that the emotions aroused by noise and visual stimuli are manifested in the synchronization of beta frequency band and the desynchronization of alpha frequency band, indicating that landscape plants can moderate or buffer the effects of noise. These findings indicate that landscape plants provide excess noise attenuating effects through subjects' emotional processing, which we term 'psychological noise reduction'.

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Diagram of the experimental design.
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f1-ijerph-08-01032: Diagram of the experimental design.

Mentions: As mentioned above, the experimental stimuli emphasized the visual aspect of the experience and its psychological effects. If the surveys were taken outdoors (such as in urban parks or natural reserves), then they would be unavoidably influenced by the vegetation’s physical effect on noise reduction. In addition, several studies show that health benefits related to experiencing Nature have been based on opportunities for noticing and observing Nature, rather than on performing activities in Nature [15]. Therefore, the experiment was conducted in a laboratory with the same noise volume and recorded visual stimuli to ensure that the background was uniform for all of the subjects and that the results were therefore precise. Previous studies have constructed landscapes using photographs, slide shows or other still images. However, these images are typically far from realistic. In our case, we began with the idea that the method used in a project such as this should not only prove controllable and uniform for survey participants, but it should also be sufficiently effective at expressing and representing the actual environment so as to overcome the above-mentioned difficulties. This can be achieved through the use of semi-actual stimuli: videos played through video glasses and recorded sounds (Figure 1). The evaluation methods of the previous investigations were mainly qualitative and subjective, including observations, self-reports, questionnaires and structured interviews. In this experiment, the electroencephalogram (EEG) was chosen to obtain quantitative emotional responses in addition to the qualitative evaluation of questionnaires.


An assessment of psychological noise reduction by landscape plants.

Yang F, Bao ZY, Zhu ZJ - Int J Environ Res Public Health (2011)

Diagram of the experimental design.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3118876&req=5

f1-ijerph-08-01032: Diagram of the experimental design.
Mentions: As mentioned above, the experimental stimuli emphasized the visual aspect of the experience and its psychological effects. If the surveys were taken outdoors (such as in urban parks or natural reserves), then they would be unavoidably influenced by the vegetation’s physical effect on noise reduction. In addition, several studies show that health benefits related to experiencing Nature have been based on opportunities for noticing and observing Nature, rather than on performing activities in Nature [15]. Therefore, the experiment was conducted in a laboratory with the same noise volume and recorded visual stimuli to ensure that the background was uniform for all of the subjects and that the results were therefore precise. Previous studies have constructed landscapes using photographs, slide shows or other still images. However, these images are typically far from realistic. In our case, we began with the idea that the method used in a project such as this should not only prove controllable and uniform for survey participants, but it should also be sufficiently effective at expressing and representing the actual environment so as to overcome the above-mentioned difficulties. This can be achieved through the use of semi-actual stimuli: videos played through video glasses and recorded sounds (Figure 1). The evaluation methods of the previous investigations were mainly qualitative and subjective, including observations, self-reports, questionnaires and structured interviews. In this experiment, the electroencephalogram (EEG) was chosen to obtain quantitative emotional responses in addition to the qualitative evaluation of questionnaires.

Bottom Line: This trip environment encourages residents to make trip choices that reduce fuel consumption and pollution and is one of the most important ways of popularizing green transportation.We detected and recorded EEG values with a portable electroencephalograph, and a comparison between the results of the two groups revealed that there was a highly significant asymmetry between the EEG activity of the vegetation scene and traffic scene groups.The results suggest that the emotions aroused by noise and visual stimuli are manifested in the synchronization of beta frequency band and the desynchronization of alpha frequency band, indicating that landscape plants can moderate or buffer the effects of noise.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: College of Agriculture & Biotechnology, Zhejiang University, 268 Kaixuan Road, Hangzhou 310029, China. yf19843611@163.com

ABSTRACT
The emphasis in the term 'Green Transportation' is on the word 'green'. Green transportation focuses on the construction of a slow transport system with a visually pleasing, easy and secure trip environment composed of urban parks, green roadside spaces and some other space that is full of landscape plants. This trip environment encourages residents to make trip choices that reduce fuel consumption and pollution and is one of the most important ways of popularizing green transportation. To study the psychological benefits provided by urban parks and other landscape environments, we combined a subjective approach (a questionnaire) with an objective quantitative approach (emotional tests using an electroencephalogram; EEG). Using a questionnaire survey, we found that 90% of the subjects believed that landscape plants contribute to noise reduction and that 55% overrated the plants' actual ability to attenuate noise. Two videos (showing a traffic scene and a plant scene) were shown to 40 participants on video glasses. We detected and recorded EEG values with a portable electroencephalograph, and a comparison between the results of the two groups revealed that there was a highly significant asymmetry between the EEG activity of the vegetation scene and traffic scene groups. The results suggest that the emotions aroused by noise and visual stimuli are manifested in the synchronization of beta frequency band and the desynchronization of alpha frequency band, indicating that landscape plants can moderate or buffer the effects of noise. These findings indicate that landscape plants provide excess noise attenuating effects through subjects' emotional processing, which we term 'psychological noise reduction'.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus