Date of Award

8-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Environmental Design and Planning

Advisor

Battisto, Dina

Committee Member

Verderber , Stephen

Committee Member

McCubbin , James

Committee Member

Nadenicek , Dan

Abstract

This thesis is a journey that travels back in time, when nature and health were inseparable, and forward to a time when science was the impetus for separation between the natural landscape and healing (chapter two), then into the present when nature and health are being reunited, only through science (chapter three).
The research conducted in 2008-2009 is reported in the form of three journal articles. The first article (chapter four) developed a methodology using sequential methods to select the nature images that would be used in the experiment. Appleton's prospect refuge theory was the basis for four image categories. The second article (chapter five) reports on the experimental procedures using multiple methods of psychological and physiological data collection to assess the therapeutic influence of the image on a person in pain. The third article (chapter six) reports on findings related to `presence', a virtual environments concept that reports on a sense of 'being in' the mediated environment and `influence', which measured how much the image influenced thoughts during three stages: rest, pain treatment, and recovery.
This exploratory study was designed in an interdisciplinary format, using various theory, methodology, and concepts from a broad array of disciplines to investigate which nature images are more therapeutic than others. Only statistically significant results are reported.

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