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Of research, researches and researchers

A study published in the October issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin to investigate nature’s influence on our personal values and behavior, a group of psychologists at the University of Rochester in New York had students look at slides of either natural landscapes or cityscapes. They also tested the effect of having plants in an office space.

In both experimental setups, students reported that they valued personal relationships and doing good for the community more highly after having seen a bit of green. And the more they immersed themselves in the natural experience, the less they cared about fame and fortune; they even became more generous with their money.

“These findings suggest,” the researchers wrote in their report, “that full contact with nature can have humanizing effects, fostering greater authenticity and connectedness.”

And Viewing cityscapes or hanging around a barren office made the students greedier and more selfish

Now I ask you all it takes is looking at greenery and we become better people. Now I don’t know the duration the students spent looking at the greenery but am assuming that you can’t spend too much looking either at the slides or the plants without getting disoriented. So after spending a minimum time you change so much???

Now I wonder isn’t it a little too convenient. I mean it is a well known opinion that nature gives peace and all that jazz so the students must have responded accordingly. I wonder if you can actually take “research” like that seriously. I mean I am a nature lover too. The sight of my native land (Kerala) fills me with inexplicable joy a sense of freshness etc etc. but I must confess that it never inspired the responses that these students have felt. So does that mean that I am dysfunctional or something. Well I know research is general what is true for one person need not be true for another so I conducted a mini research on the same topic. I went to my friends and students in the college and asked then what they felt when they saw greenery and n general nature inspired themes. They all (individually) said they felt at peace and good about themselves. I probed what about feelings towards others, you know an increased sense of bon – homie or love towards mankind, an inclination towards doing good for the community in general  they just shrugged their shoulders. I asked them if maybe looking at the city and pollution garbage disposal made them want to go and attach each other make them feel selfish greedy they just gave me a look oh God has Anisha lost it again.

The point I am trying to make is the authenticity of such researches. This was published in a well known magazine and maybe a lot of people would have read it and a couple od people might have used it for whatever academic purpose they might need. So a lot of people are being influenced by this. So I feel that before publishing research like that they must verify more than just the result also the methodology and if it makes sense. My opinion people what says you.


December 8, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment