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Girls With Views Of Nature More Successful

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    NHNE News List Current Members: 676 Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message. ... GIRLS WITH VIEWS OF NATURE HAVE BETTER CHANCE OF
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 30, 2002
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      NHNE News List
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      University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign / EurekAlert!
      June 26, 2002

      Contact: Jim Barlow


      CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - At-risk inner-city girls who see nature through the
      windows of their homes may have a better chance for success than those girls
      whose views are not as green, say scientists at the University of Illinois
      at Urbana-Champaign.

      "For the girls, we found that the greener the view that was available from
      their apartment window, the better they were able to concentrate, refrain
      from acting impulsively and delay gratification," said Andrea Faber Taylor,
      a postdoctoral researcher in the department of natural resources and
      environmental sciences. "The greener views translated into better

      The findings, published online in June by the Journal of Environmental
      Psychology, in advance of the journal's print publication, are based on a
      study of 169 children, ages 7 to 12, in a large downtown Chicago public
      housing complex. Boys' scores did not display the same relationship to views
      of nature from home, possibly because boys tend to spend more time playing
      away from home than do girls, said co-author Frances E. Kuo, co-director of
      the Human-Environment Research Lab.

      This study is one of several that Kuo and third co-author William C.
      Sullivan have conducted on the link between nature and healthy human
      functioning in inner-city Chicago.

      "This study grows from previous research that shows the ability to
      concentrate can be renewed through contact with natural settings," said Kuo,
      who also is a professor of psychology. "I'm pursuing the possibility that
      self-discipline draws on the same brain mechanism that concentration does."

      The new findings, Taylor said, strengthen arguments that city planners and
      housing developers should strategically incorporate views and access to
      nature to enhance the quality of life for residents.

      For the new study, the researchers recruited and trained volunteer residents
      of the mostly African-American Robert Taylor Homes to interview and test
      families they didn't already know. The data collected were then analyzed by
      the scientists to understand the impact of the physical environment on
      mothers and children.

      Mothers were asked to rate the amounts of nature (trees, plants or water)
      and human-made structures (buildings, streets or pavement) visible through
      their apartment windows. Boys and girls were given a series of widely
      recognized performance measures: four to assess concentration and three to
      measure impulse inhibition. A final measure, in which children had the
      option of getting a small bag of candy right away or a much larger one later
      on, was used to test their ability to delay gratification.

      Greater performance in these three areas, Taylor said, reflects greater
      self-discipline, which, in turn, can enhance academic achievement and reduce
      juvenile delinquency and teenage pregnancies.

      "This study is one of the first to examine the relationship between nature
      and concentration in children with normal attentional functioning," Kuo
      said. "And it is the first to link nature with impulse inhibition and delay
      of gratification in any population."

      The research to date, Kuo said, suggests that parents, caregivers and
      homeowners in inner-city neighborhoods should encourage girls to study or
      play in rooms with a view of nature; promote playing outdoors in green
      spaces; advocate recesses in green schoolyards; plant and care for trees and
      vegetation around the home; and value and care for trees in the


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