Into the wild: the cognitive neuroscience of spending time in nature 

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In recent years there has been a growing interest in researching the physical and mental health benefits of spending more time in natural environments. This includes topics such as employing nature-based activities in child education, and the efficacy of using nature-based therapy for the treatment of mental illnesses. Dr David Pearson, Anglia Ruskin University, will present recent findings from the field of cognitive neuroscience that can help illuminate why spending more time interacting with nature environments can promote better health and wellbeing.

Dr Pearson has previously delivered similar-themed talks as part of events organised by UKELA (UK Environmental Law Association), and at the inaugural Hay on the Mill Neurodiversity Conference (a collaboration between the Ruskin Mill Trust and Hay Festival) in 2018.

The talk will reference recent inter-disciplinary and public discourse around the topic. For example, Public Health England published in 2020 a review "Improving Access to Greenspace" proposing local natural environments should be considered critical assets for maintaining and supporting health and wellbeing in local communities.

Dr David Pearson is an Associate Professor at Anglia Ruskin University with more than twenty-five years of research experience in the fields of cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience. He has worked at Aberdeen University, the University of the Saarland in Germany, and the Open University. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Authority, an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and a registered Chartered Psychologist. He maintains extensive international collaborative links, including holding visiting researcher positions at Trieste University in Italy and Bergen University in Norway.

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