Positive Emotions Induced Through Nature-Related Stimuli Cognitive, Personality, and Physiological

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Randolph C. Arnau

Advisor Department



Nature settings are said to elicit the positive emotion of contentment, characterized by feelings of relaxation, easing of tension, tranquility, self-reflection and savoring of current life. Fredrickson's (1998, 2000, 2002) Broaden-And-Build Model of positive emotions may shed light into the mechanisms through which nature-related stimuli yield positive effects on its viewers. However, the manner and intensity in which emotions are experienced may be influenced by an individual's personality traits (Gray, 1987; Strelau, 1987; Watson & Clark, 1997). The current study examined whether viewing nature settings footage yields increased self-reports of positive affectivity, decreased self-reports of negative affectivity, physiological signs of sympathetic system recuperation, and improved performance on cognitive tasks. Furthermore, the role of personality traits as moderators for nature-related stimuli's beneficial effects was also assessed. Finally, the specific positive emotion of serenity was tested to investigate whether it mediates the relationship between nature-related stimuli and its beneficial effects as posited by Fredrickson (1998). Results provide support for some of nature-related stimuli's beneficial effects and also indicate that personality may influence this relationship.