I’m excited to be invited as a Visiting Scholar this May at James Cook University, Singapore. As part of my work there I will present a public lecture on Thursday, 7pm 18 May 2017. If you’re in Singapore then and would like to come along, please follow the link below to the University website.
Living well with nature in a wired world: an introduction to technobiophilia
Do you worry that wired life is taking you away from nature? You may be surprised to learn that you could be getting your daily dose of the natural world through your screensaver, or in virtual reality, or simply by ‘liking’ pictures of sunsets on Facebook. This talk explains the concept of biophilia, the deep genetic memory of our early evolution in the ancient wild, and introduces the concept of technobiophilia. Dr Thomas explains how our ancestral attraction to nature can soothe our connected lives and help us to feel better without logging off.
I’ve been invited to give a short talk about my new book Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age at a meeting of the Dorset Humanists. This is the first in a series of talks by members and there are two of us on the programme – Chris Street, who will be talking about Poetic Naturalism, and myself.
7.30pm, Wednesday 19th April 2017 at The Greenhouse Hotel, Bournemouth. More information.
The event is open to everyone and you don’t have to share Humanist views to come along and join the conversation.
Anxiety and fear give way to joy and awe when we tune into scenes of the natural world, finds a study commissioned by BBC, makers of “Planet Earth II.” from Watching nature documentaries boosts happiness, says study | MNN – Mother Nature Network
There’s a lot of research tracking and measuring the benefits of engaging with nature, and much of it is done using video, TV and other kinds of images. This is the first time I’ve seen research of this kind commissioned by a specific TV show and the results are very interesting. They also back up my own theory of technobiophilia, “the innate attraction to life and lifelike processes as they appear in technology“.
BBC Earth commissioned a multi-country online quantitative study to examine the impact of watching natural history content on viewers’ emotions. This was conducted in partnership with an international panel company, with data collected and weighted to be nationally representative in each country. Respondents viewed one of five clips: two from Planet Earth II, one from a popular drama, one montage of news coverage, and one control video. The hypothesis was that watching content from Planet Earth II could improve the sensation of positive emotions and reduce the sensation of negative emotions. The study found a range of significant results evidencing not only that watching content from Planet Earth II inspired significant increases in feelings of awe, contentedness, joy, amusement and curiosity, but that it also acted to reduce feelings of tiredness, anger and stress. In the majority of cases, changes in emotions were caused by the type of content viewed, and significantly different from the control group. Our findings therefore support the conclusion that viewing Planet Earth II inspires positive changes in emotions that are distinct to the natural history genre.
From: EXPLORING THE EMOTIONAL STATE OF ‘REAL HAPPINESS’. A STUDY INTO THE EFFECTS OF WATCHING NATURAL HISTORY TELEVISION CONTENT. Download
Dacher Keltner, Richard Bowman, and Harriet Richards. University of Berkeley, California; BBC Worldwide Global Insight Team
Just in case you don’t believe it, test yourself with this cute aardvark movie.