We predict mental states using eye movements.
The relationship between greenspace and health
Brain networks, self-control and depression
The Environmental Neuroscience Lab at the University of Chicago
is interested in how the physical environment affects the brain and behavior. Some of the findings from the ENL include showing that brief interactions with natural environments (such as a walk in a park) can improve memory and attention by 20%. In addition, we have shown that more efficient brain networks are linked to enhanced self-control throughout the lifespan and have examined global brain network connectivity as it relates to depression and breast cancer. We are continuing to advance this work by uncovering the physical low-level features of nature (such as color and spatial properties) that lead to these improvements as well as other manipulations that may make the brain more efficient and also alter functional connectivity patterns as they relate to diseased states. With a better understanding and quantification of the relationships between the brain and the environment, we hope that our research will influence the designing of physical environments in ways that will optimize human mental health, physical health, and overall well-being.
"It's certainly more beautiful to be surrounded by mature trees than endless concrete and traffic. But research now also shows it could well be better for both your mental and physical health. Marc Berman, professor of psychology at the University of Chicago,...
Large cities are often viewed as cold, fast-paced environments where crime rates are high and interpersonal interactions are fleeting—a combination that makes them detrimental to mental health. But new research provides evidence for the opposite: The socioeconomic networks and built environments of larger urban areas in the U.S. can actually predict lower rates of psychological depression.
A new study suggests that towns and suburbs could learn from bigger cities about how to increase social interaction.
The study, to be published Aug. 3 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, draws on mathematical models and multiple datasets to try to gauge how city size and the “built environment,’’ like structures and roads, influence depression…