Understanding the Perceived Benefits of Nature for Creativity

Eleanor Ratcliffe, Birgitta Gatersleben, Paul T. Sowden, Kalevi M. Korpela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Experience of nature is widely linked to well-being, including psychological restoration. Benefits to creativity have been explored in a limited number of studies which refer to theories of restorative environments as frameworks, but it is unclear which aspects of the environment and person–nature transactions are implicated in these processes. In this study, N = 20 members of the British public were interviewed regarding the relevance of natural environments for their personal and professional creative activities. Thematic analysis of interview transcripts revealed that cognitive, affective, and aesthetic appraisals were reported as directly relevant to creativity in nature, while environmental properties, sensory experiences, and the self were reported as informing these appraisals. Similarities to theories of restorative environments were observed in terms of the relevance of affect, cognition, and aesthetics. However, divergences also occurred, especially with regard to perceptions of arousal as beneficial for creativity, the importance of change in the environment, and the relevance of the self. Studies and theoretical modeling of relationships between nature and creativity should include these concepts, as well as those from theories of restorative environments.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • attention restoration theory
  • creativity
  • nature
  • restorative environments
  • stress reduction theory

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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