In support of natural beauty: a study of the effects of urban and national parks on conservation attitudes and mood

Natalie E. Gertz, The College of Wooster


Much of conservation psychology literature has focused on humans' interactions with and attitudes toward conservation of the natural world. It has been consistently found that individuals who spend their leisure time in the outdoors are more likely to have higher conservation attitude scores. Despite this finding little research has been done to distinguish between the type of outdoor landscape used and conservation attitude scores. The goal of this study is to determine the affects of viewing naturalistic landscapes on mood and environmental awareness. Participants were shown 25 photographs of either urban parks, national parks, both national and urban parks, or houses. Participants in the urban, national, and both groups were asked to rate the photographs on how attractive and now natural they felt they were. The house category participants were only asked to rate the photograph on how attractive it was. Participants were also given the New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) and the Profile of Mood States (POMS), as well as asked questions on their park usage and infrastructure preferences. It was found that national and urban parks were seen differently in regards to usage, infrastructure preferences and perceived naturalness. Type of landscape condition however did not effect POMS or NEP scores.