The concept of restorative environments underlines the recovering aspects of places, which allow people to distract, to relax, to free their minds and to distance themselves from ordinary and stressful aspects of everyday life. Within this framework, specific attention has been given on attention restoration effects elicited by natural environments. However, a substantial lack of research is still present in the literature about the potential benefits of nature in school environments, and further research is needed to address whether or not the presence of nature in schools exerts restorative effects on pupils’ attention boosting their scholastic performance. Accordingly, the main aim of the present research is to understand the positive effects of natural environment at school on pupils’ attention restoration and their academic performance. In a first experiment, the tested hypothesis is that a natural (vs. built) environment would exert a restoration effect on pupils’ attention. A within-subject design was used to test our main hypothesis. Pupils’ attention was measured before and after recess-time, in two different conditions (play in a natural environment vs play in a built environment); moreover, the perceived restoration effect in which children had just played (natural vs built area), was measured after each play in each of the two experimental conditions. In this first experiment, 82 Italian primary school children participated in the experiment and were tested on three standardized attention test (Digit Span Test, Bells Test and Go-No-Go test). A series of repeated measures ANOVAs showed a positive effect of the environment on some components of attention (concentration, sustained and selective attention); moreover results showed a main effect of context (natural vs built environment) on perceived restorativeness (measured by PRS-C). Playing in natural (vs. built) space during school-time helps the restoration of some attention components and its perceived effect. In a second experiment the tested hypothesis is whether this attention restoration effect can boost pupils’ academic performance. Thus, in line with the first study procedure, a between-subject design was used to test the hypothesis that attention restoration provided by natural (vs. built) environments positively (vs. negatively) affect scholastic performance. Standardized tests for measuring various aspects of attention, restoration and scholastic performance has been used. Results showed a main effect of context (natural vs built environment) on perceived restorativeness; playing in natural (vs. built) space during school-time can help the perceived restoration effect. Finally, in order to understand which are the main social-psychological variables that explain the attention restoration process elicited by natural (vs. built) environments, in a final third field experiment the mediation effect of perceived restoration on actual attention restoration and scholastic performance is tested. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed according to the attention restoration theory and with a specific focus on possible applications in the field of education.

Green breaks: The effect of green areas within school environments upon child's attention and performance

PETRUCCELLI, IRENE;COSTANTINO, VALENTINA;
2016

Abstract

The concept of restorative environments underlines the recovering aspects of places, which allow people to distract, to relax, to free their minds and to distance themselves from ordinary and stressful aspects of everyday life. Within this framework, specific attention has been given on attention restoration effects elicited by natural environments. However, a substantial lack of research is still present in the literature about the potential benefits of nature in school environments, and further research is needed to address whether or not the presence of nature in schools exerts restorative effects on pupils’ attention boosting their scholastic performance. Accordingly, the main aim of the present research is to understand the positive effects of natural environment at school on pupils’ attention restoration and their academic performance. In a first experiment, the tested hypothesis is that a natural (vs. built) environment would exert a restoration effect on pupils’ attention. A within-subject design was used to test our main hypothesis. Pupils’ attention was measured before and after recess-time, in two different conditions (play in a natural environment vs play in a built environment); moreover, the perceived restoration effect in which children had just played (natural vs built area), was measured after each play in each of the two experimental conditions. In this first experiment, 82 Italian primary school children participated in the experiment and were tested on three standardized attention test (Digit Span Test, Bells Test and Go-No-Go test). A series of repeated measures ANOVAs showed a positive effect of the environment on some components of attention (concentration, sustained and selective attention); moreover results showed a main effect of context (natural vs built environment) on perceived restorativeness (measured by PRS-C). Playing in natural (vs. built) space during school-time helps the restoration of some attention components and its perceived effect. In a second experiment the tested hypothesis is whether this attention restoration effect can boost pupils’ academic performance. Thus, in line with the first study procedure, a between-subject design was used to test the hypothesis that attention restoration provided by natural (vs. built) environments positively (vs. negatively) affect scholastic performance. Standardized tests for measuring various aspects of attention, restoration and scholastic performance has been used. Results showed a main effect of context (natural vs built environment) on perceived restorativeness; playing in natural (vs. built) space during school-time can help the perceived restoration effect. Finally, in order to understand which are the main social-psychological variables that explain the attention restoration process elicited by natural (vs. built) environments, in a final third field experiment the mediation effect of perceived restoration on actual attention restoration and scholastic performance is tested. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed according to the attention restoration theory and with a specific focus on possible applications in the field of education.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11387/116279
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