60 (44 in the final sample) full-time or part-time employed or full-time student participants at the University of Central Florida were recruited to see whether a break in virtual nature will help improve upon executive functioning (EF) processing speed; especially in an EF impaired population. The main interest is that if virtual nature breaks aid with mental performance, then the application of virtual nature break can prove beneficial to both normal and, most importantly, the cognitively impaired. The lack of methodological consistency and the limited research on the subject yields mixed results in previous literature. The present study tries to address some of these gaps. Participants had to fill out a demographics survey, perform a cognitive load (Mental Rotation Task) and processing speed task (Stroop Color-Word Task), and then engage in a simulated 15-minute break in nature (video & sounds). Afterwards, they performed the processing speed task again to measure for change. The results failed to demonstrate that a moderately short break consisting of a nature video helps boost EF performance in the normal group. Those who demonstrated impairment in EF in the treatment group had to small of a sample size to be tested on. Numerous limitations and weak statistical power, especially in the impaired group, calls into question the validity of the study. As a result, the study findings are inconclusive.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Varkala, Kipras, "Executive Function Impairment and the Influence of a Break in a Virtual Nature Environment" (2020). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 770.