Colorful urban environments, even if just in virtual reality, promote well-being

Drab urban environments tend to increase our stress, whereas nature can soothe the soul, but how do you get the best of both? One option is to increase color and vegetation in cities, but finding the best approach can be tricky. A new study in Frontiers in Virtual Reality has tested the effects of vegetation and colorful patterns in an urban environment. Employing virtual reality, the study found that green vegetation caused volunteers to walk more slowly, while also increasing their heart rate, indicating a pleasurable experience. Meanwhile, colorful patterns increased alertness, fascination and curiosity. The study illustrates the potential of simple interventions to improve the lives of urbanites, and also the power of virtual reality to test such interventions.

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