Physiological Responses to Natural Indoor Animation - I3 Award

Christina Karns

Christina Karns and colleagues Kevin Nute and Nicole Swann received an Incubating Interdisciplinary Initiatives (I3) Award from the UO Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. 

Disorders of stress are increasingly recognized as a major public health concern. Coinciding with this, is increased separation from environments that may reduce stress, such as natural or restorative environments. According to the EPA, most Americans now spend in excess of 90% of their lives inside buildings. While there has been some progress in designing spaces that are calming, for example bringing nature into an indoor space through structural changes, the potential health benefits of well-designed indoor environments that incorporate natural movement remains a largely un-explored field. 

This research examines whether naturally animated indoor environments can be designed to improve health and cognitive function through interacting with brain states to reduce physiological and psychological stress. The researchers expect that natural animations will result in significant psychological and physiological benefits, such as reduced physiological stress, increased focused attention, and increased perceived well-being.