The Effects of Waterscapes in Green Spaces on the Stability of Brain Function

The Effects of Waterscapes in Green Spaces on the Stability of Brain Function
発表者/presenter’s name:〇Kang, Minji 1
所属/Affiliation:1 Doctoral student, Department of Landscape Architecture, Hankyong National University, Anseong 17579, Republic of Korea

Increasing attention is being paid to the health benefits of green spaces with a rise in the severity of mental health issues in urban communities. Exposure to green spaces, such as woodlands, is known to have positive effects, including reliving stress and depression, which have negative impacts on brain function. Recent studies that investigated the relationship between brain activity and green landscape demonstrated that green had positive impacts on prefrontal cortex (PFC) activity, compared to city landscapes. Water bodies play a critical role in the therapeutic effects of green landscape, with positive impacts on mood and mental health. However, research on the cognitive mechanism underlying these therapeutic effects is scarce. The aim of this study was to investigate differences in brain function among adult males exposed to wooded landscapes with and without a water body. The wooded landscapes contained a waterfall view, a valley view, and a forest view without water. Exposure to a local city landscape served as a control. Twelve adult males participated in a field experiment where PFC activity was measured using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). In the experiment, the participants undertook low-intensity walking in the three wooded areas. The characteristics of the three areas were similar in terms of vegetational and climatic conditions. The results revealed a significant difference in left PFC activity of the participants in the three wooded landscapes versus that in the control landscape (P < 0.01). An analysis of variance analysis (ANOVA) confirmed the significant difference in left PFC activity, with significantly lower activity recorded in the wooded landscape containing the water view. Of note, the lowest PFC values recorded in the waterfall view indicates that landscapes containing dynamic water flow could be associated with greater therapeutic benefits in terms of brain PFC activity than static landscapes. Our results support the idea that water is a crucial aspect of a landscape due to its therapeutic benefits and that water should be incorporated in the planning and designing of green spaces for health promotion.

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