Nature does not always give you a helping hand: Comparing the prosocial effects of nature at different resource and security levels

Henry Kin Shing NG, Yee-Ling HONG, Tak Sang CHOW, Nga Man LEUNG

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Abstract

Humans become more prosocial after nature exposure. We proposed that the prosocial effect pertains to resource (e.g., food, water) and security (e.g., shelter, concealment) features in natural environments. Four studies tested the idea that prosociality changes with variations in environmental resource and security. Study 1 reported that urban greenspace, a resource feature to urban dwellers, predicted more volunteering in low-crime cities, but less so in high-crime cities. Studies 2 and 3 compared prosociality after exposure to natural sceneries in a Resource (high/low) × Security (high/low) design. Participants were more prosocial in the high-resource-high-security and low-resource-low-security conditions. Study 4 compared the four natural environments with two control conditions (urban, shape). It reported that not all natural environments led to higher prosociality, nor did any of them undermine prosociality. The findings supported heterogeneity in nature's prosocial effect. Implications are discussed in relation to urban greening and the evolutionary basis of nature's effect. Copyright © 2018 by the Society for Personality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-633
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume45
Issue number4
Early online dateSep 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

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Hand
Crime
Food Supply
Water

Citation

Ng, H. K. S., Hong, Y.-L., Chow, T. S., & Leung, A. N. M. (2019). Nature does not always give you a helping hand: Comparing the prosocial effects of nature at different resource and security levels. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 45(4), 616-633. doi: 10.1177/0146167218794625

Keywords

  • Nature
  • Prosociality
  • Resource
  • Security
  • Evolution