AMERICAN SCIENTIST: The Moral Call of the Wild

 

December 1st 2009.

 

treeI love spending time outside. From wild places like the backcountry of the Sierra Nevada mountains, to the mundane nature in my back yard, I find comfort in my natural experiences. These places are restful. Peaceful. They restore my batteries, and help me to focus. And I am not alone in these experiences. People around the world seek out natural experiences. Even when confined to built spaces, we add pets, plants, pictures, and momentos from nature. It is part of who we are, and these experiences in nature help us reflect on what is important in life.

But a recent article by researchers at the University of Rochester shows that experiences with nature can affect more than our mood. In a series of studies, Netta Weinstein, Andrew Przybylski, and Richard Ryan, University of Rochester, show that exposure to nature can affect our priorities and alter what we think is important in life. In short, we become less self-focused and more other-focused. Our value priorities shift from personal gain, to a broader focus on community and connection with others.

Read the full story at:

Originally posted at:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/moral-call-of-the-wild/

By P. Wesley Schultz

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