Year of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Experimental Psychology

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Social Psychology

Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Lucian Gideon Conway

Commitee Members

Daniel Denis, Norma Nickerson, Rachel Severson, Allen Szalda-Petree


Environmental psychology, Health, Nature


University of Montana

Subject Categories



Advances in technology and increasingly urban lifestyles have resulted in unprecedented rates of separation between people and nature. This phenomenon has prompted a dramatic increase in research investigating the effects of nature exposure on human health and wellbeing over the last few decades, resulting in evidence for a myriad of health benefits humans derive from nature exposure. Given the abundance of evidence for these effects, research has turned to understanding how nature exposure has such effects. Emerging research suggests reduced impulsivity in decision-making may act as a mediator of the effects of nature exposure on human health and wellbeing. However, very little is known about the mechanism by which nature may reduce impulsivity in decision-making. The present study contributes to the understanding of how impulsive decision-making may act as a mechanism for the health and wellbeing benefits of nature exposure by focusing on the link between nature exposure and impulsive decisionmaking. Building on research suggesting nature may evoke a perceptual change that affects impulsive decision-making, the present investigation considered whether perceptual expansion measured via perception of space provides insight into the effect of nature exposure on impulsive decision-making by testing whether the effect of nature exposure on health/wellbeing is serially mediated by perception of space and impulsive decision-making. Results replicate prior research findings that increased nature exposure is related to improved health and offer support for the emerging hypothesis that the effects of nature exposure on health are partially mediated by perception of space. However, evidence for the proposed serial mediation model (taken in total) was not found.

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