Evaluating the restorative impact of nature through multimodal mobile sensing of neural, physiological, and behavioral activity in ambulatory settings
Authors: Adrian Curtin, Yigit Topoglu, Saqer Alshehri, Michael Woodburn, Lynelle Martin, Rajneesh Suri, Hasan Ayaz
Abstract: One of the fundamental principles of neuroergonomics is that human cognition is profoundly shaped by the environment in which it operates. In the modern world, this environment can often be highly artificial, noisy, barren, and intentionally distracting. On the other hand, natural environments compare favorably as they may offer not only an appreciation of beauty but a rich array of sensory and contextual information which can be undemanding to the observer. Attention Restoration Theory (ART) proposes that exposure to natural environments can provide various benefits to stress, health, and cognition. Understanding how the brain responds to natural environment presentation poses a crucial hurdle to using traditional neuroimaging techniques as many approaches necessitate highly controlled and resultingly, low-fidelity stimuli presentation to mimic the environmental effects of nature. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), a non-invasive brain monitoring technology that relies on optical techniques to detect changes in cortical hemodynamic responses to human perceptual, cognitive, and motor functioning, is an ideal candidate tool for understanding the brain in natural environments. In this paper, we will describe an experimental setup that involves the integration of mobile fNIRS systems with simultaneous wrist-based optical heart rate monitoring (OHRM) and electrodermal activity (EDA) recordings that can record the cognitive and physiological responses of individuals to natural settings.
Keywords: Neuroergonomics, Mobile neuroimaging, Nature, Beauty, Attention Restoration Theory (ART), Environmental exposure
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