Holistic thinking and emotional variability across environments

Weiwei XIA, Man Wai LI, Ming LI

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


To advance the understanding of the environment-human relation, the present research examined individuals’ emotional variability, which captures the fluctuation in negative and positive emotional states, across environments. Specifically, we examined the relationship between holistic thinking and emotional variability across environments in three studies. In Study 1, to measure emotional variability, we presented participants (N=454) with a series of pictures that showed different natural environments, and asked them to rate their emotional feelings in each presented environment. Besides, the holistic thinking scale and perceived self-nature connection were measured. We found that stronger holistic thinking was associated with greater emotional variability across natural environments, and this relationship was explained by stronger connectedness to nature. In Study 2, we replicated this pattern with a community sample (N=208), by including some human-made environments with more diverse characteristics as the stimuli. In Study 3, we further explored the potential moderating effect of the type of environment and the cultural background. Participants from the United States (N=226) and China (N=217) were recruited. They were randomly assigned to either viewing natural environments or viewing human-made environments. The results showed that the relationships of holistic thinking, connectedness to environments, and emotional variability across environments were more evident among Chinese participants while the type of environment had minimal impact. The present research has implications for environmental research, which highlights the importance of the nuanced influence of cultural beliefs on the human-environment relation. Copyright © 2021 Asian Association of Social Psychology.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


Xia, W., Li, L. M. W., & Li, M. (2021, July). Holistic thinking and emotional variability across environments. Paper presented at The 14th Biennial Conference of the Asian Association of Social Psychology, Seoul, Korea.


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