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.
Click here to learn more about our research projects!
The Times, London reports on ENL research about children's environmental preferences: "Forget the great outdoors- children prefer city life". Download the article here (Weblink here, requires subscription)
A new study co-authored by Professor Berman offers a framework for how city planners can measure the mental health benefits of nature. Click here to read more.
Ph.D. student Kim Meidenbauer in ENL was awarded a William Rainey Harper Dissertation Year Fellowship for the 2019-2020 academic year.