Nature Nurtures Creativity

December 2012

Backpackers scored 50 percent better on a creativity test after spending four days in nature disconnected from electronic devices, according to a study by psychologists from the University of Utah and University of Kansas.

© Lorenzo Ravagli

The study by Strayer and University of Kansas psychologists Ruth Ann Atchley and Paul Atchley involved 56 people – 30 men and 26 women – with an average age of 28. They participated in four- to six-day wilderness hiking trips organized by the Outward Bound expedition school in Alaska, Colorado, Maine and Washington state. No electronic devices were allowed on the trips.

Of the 56 study subjects, 24 took a 10-item creativity test the morning before they began their backpacking trip, and 32 took the test on the morning of the trip's fourth day.

The results: people who had been backpacking four days got an average of 6.08 of the 10 questions correct, compared with an average score of 4.14 for people who had not yet begun a backpacking trip.

"We show that four days of immersion in nature, and the corresponding disconnection from multimedia and technology, increases performance on a creativity, problem-solving task by a full 50 percent," the researchers conclude.

Read more at ScienceDaily

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