The effect of fascination type on attention restoration, mood repair, and stress recovery as mediated through relaxation response in college students

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Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Health
Department Parks Recreation & Tourism
Author Ruddell, Lauren Hall
Title The effect of fascination type on attention restoration, mood repair, and stress recovery as mediated through relaxation response in college students
Date 2013-12
Description Today's college students face a number of new and demanding situations that deplete personal resources, leaving them mentally fatigued, tense, irritable, distractible, and physiologically stressed. One approach to replenishing these personal resources is to interact with settings that minimize the demands on those resources. A natural scene that a person perceives as fascinating could evoke a form of attention that is undemanding and virtually effortless. Exposure to pleasing natural scenes, such as harmless and attractive wildlife, may offer a means by which to capture a person's attention and begin a restorative process mediated by a relaxation response. Using a 1 x 2 between-subjects experimental design, 86 participants drawn from the University of Utah Psychology Department's Human Subjects Pool took part in an experiment that examined the effect that scene type (images of wildlife theoretically deemed to represent either hard or soft fascination) had on a student's capacity to recover their mood (following a social evaluation mood stressor) and experience physiological recovery from induced stress. Also, between-subjects design was used to examine participant's executive, orienting, and alerting attention following exposure to hard or soft fascination images. Investigation into the role of relaxation in mood, stress, and directed attention recovery was also performed. Data garnered from the Attention Networking Task revealed no significant effect for executive attention. Stress reduction, as measured by salivary cortisol, and mood repair were both significant, and partial mediation by relaxation was displayed for the mood measures. The results indicated that relaxation was an effective mood mediator, contributing about 67% of the explained variance for scores on positive mood and 60% mediation for a negative mood. Relaxation was positively correlated with positive mood and negatively correlated with negative mood. The findings from this study affirm the importance of relaxation as a mediating variable, but also demonstrate that perceptions of hard and soft fascination do differ in terms of mood repair. For directed attention restoration, fascination alone may be insufficient, with other attention restoration constructs (being away, extent, compatibility) being essential to replenishment of executive attention. Implications for both Attention Restoration Theory and Psycho-Evolutionary Theory are discussed.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Attention; Fascination; Mood; Restoration; Stress; Wildlife
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name Doctor of Philosophy
Language eng
Rights Management Copyright © Lauren Hall Ruddell 2013
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 2,345,718 bytes
Identifier etd3/id/3395
ARK ark:/87278/s6fv1v9x
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2015-03-30
Date Modified 2018-02-20
ID 196959
Reference URL