MSNBC has an article on the effect of exposure to the natural environment on people's attitudes - Looking at nature makes you nicer.
“If it weren’t for Central Park, all us New Yorkers would kill each other,” says Ruta Fox, a 50-something jewelry entrepreneur from Manhattan. “It’s the saving grace of this city.”
As extreme as that sounds, Fox may be on to something. In a set of recent experiments, researchers at the University of Rochester in New York monitored the effects of natural versus artificial environments — and found that nature actually makes us nicer.
“Previous studies have shown the health benefits of nature range from more rapid healing to stress reduction to improved mental performance and vitality,” says Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology, psychiatry and education at the University of Rochester and co-author of the study, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
“Now we’ve found nature brings out more social feelings, more value for community and close relationships. People are more caring when they’re around nature,” he says.