The Department of General Psychology and the Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture, and Forestry at the University of Padova, one of VARCITIES’ partner, and Castelfranco Veneto‘s Pilot Expert published in February 2023 the results of a study they conducted in VARCITIES’ pilot. Entitled The influence of individual characteristics on perceived restorativeness and benefits associated with exposure to nature in a garden, it was published in the international peer-reviewed journal, Frontiers in Psychology (Environment Psychology section).
The study, conducted as part of Castelfranco’s Pilot activities within VARCITIES, examined the relationship between individual characteristics, such as personality, connectedness to nature, preference for natural environments, and visuospatial preferences, and their perceived restorativeness (defined as the potential of the environment to re-establish certain personal resources related to cognitive and affective capacities) and benefits associated with exposure to nature, in terms of memory functioning and affective state, in young adults who explored freely within the landscape garden of Villa Revedin Bolasco.
Participants in this study voluntarily took and completed a series of questionnaires and tasks related to individual characteristics, as well as assessments of memory and affective functioning both before and after their free exploration of the garden.
The results showed that:
- extraversion -a personality trait characterized by outgoing, sociable, and assertive behavior- was significantly associated with the perceived restorativeness of individuals exposed to the garden;
- a high level of connectedness to nature – which refers to an individual’s sense of being affectively/experientially connected to the nature- was also significantly associated with greater perceived restorative effects of nature;
- no significant associations emerged between individual characteristics and benefits on affect and memory measures.
These findings suggest the importance of considering individual characteristics, such as personality traits like extraversion or individual levels of connectedness to nature, in describing the restorative effects of nature and designing nature-based solutions to improve the quality of life of citizens and promote a sustainable green urban future centered on people’s well-being.
Learn more about Castelfranco Veneto’s pilot on their dedicated pilot page.