Digital Detox: Does Exposure To The Outdoors Improve Creative Reasoning?

A recent study conducted by psychologists from the University of Kansas and the University of Utah finds that unplugging from your digital devices and getting out into nature can significantly boost your creativity and problem solving skills.

The research was conducted on 50 adults participating in a 4 to 6 day tech-free nature hike. All were tested for creativity and problem solving. The group tested post-hike outperformed the group tested pre-hike by 50%.

What remains to be seen however is whether the increased performance can actually be attributed to exposure to nature or separation from distracting digital devices or both.

This passage from the report explains the theoretical mental reset :

Attention Restoration Theory (ART) [5] suggests that
nature has specific restorative effects on the prefrontal
cortex-mediated executive attentional system, which can
become depleted with overuse. High levels of engagement
with technology and multitasking place demands on
executive attention to switch amongst tasks, maintain
task goals, and inhibit irrelevant actions or cognitions.
ART suggests that interactions with nature are particularly
effective in replenishing depleted attentional resources.

I love the outdoors and I’m a firm believer time in nature heals body, mind and spirit.

Unfortunately, until researchers fully understand the “why”, it is difficult to say whether a 20 minute walk in the city park or a week in the woods will unleash your creative beast.


Research Article: Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings

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