Journal of Zhejiang University-SCIENCE B

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 53–63 | Cite as

Psychophysiological and cognitive effects of strawberry plants on people in isolated environments

  • Zhao-ming Li
  • Hui LiuEmail author
  • Wen-zhu Zhang
  • Hong LiuEmail author


In manned deep-space exploration, extremely isolated environments may adversely affect the mood and cognition of astronauts. Horticultural plants and activities have been proven to be effective in improving their physical, psychological, and cognitive states. To assess the effects of applying horticultural plants and activities in isolated environments, this study investigated the influence of viewing strawberry plants on the mood of people in a laboratory experiment as indicated by heart rate, salivary cortisol, and psychological scales. The results showed that heart rate and salivary cortisol were significantly decreased after viewing strawberry plants for 15 min. “Tension” and “confusion” scored using the Profile of Mood States negative mood subscales, and anxiety levels measured using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory scale were also significantly reduced. This study further explored the impact of viewing strawberry plants on cognition. A notable reduction of the subjects’ reaction time after 15-min plant viewing was observed. Based on these findings, a long-duration isolated experiment in a bioregenerative life support system—“Lunar Palace I”—was conducted. A similar trend was obtained that crew members’ mood states were improved by viewing the strawberry plants, but no significant change was observed. This study provided some experimental evidence for the benefits of interacting with strawberry plants in isolated environments.

Key words

Isolated environment Horticultural welfare Strawberry Mood Cognition 



目 的

探究草莓对隔离环境中人的生理、心理及认知的影响, 为改善深空探测等隔离环境中乘员的情绪和认知提供新的可能措施.


定量研究了草莓对隔离环境中人的生理、心理及认知的影响, 并在研究中同时纳入了实验室短期模拟隔离实验和真实环境下的长期隔离实验.

方 法

在实验室实验中, 通过测量心率、唾液皮质醇和心理量表等指标, 并与草莓模型和静坐对比, 研究观察草莓对情绪的影响; 采用注意广度、短时记忆广度和选择反应时测试, 进一步探究草莓对认知的影响. 基于实验室实验的结果, 在生物再生生命保障系统中进行长期隔离实验, 进一步验证隔离环境中草莓对人情绪的正向调节作用.

结 论

本研究中, 在实验室短期模拟隔离实验和真实环境下的长期隔离实验下, 观察草莓 15 分钟可降低皮质醇水平, 并减轻紧张和困惑等负面情绪. 同时, 15 分钟的草莓观赏使隔离环境中人的选择反应时显著降低, 反应力明显加快, 有助于警觉性的提高.


隔离环境 园艺福祉 草莓 情绪 认知 

CLC number



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The authors would like to express the deepest thanks to all study participants. We would also like to thank the Lunar Palace 1 research and maintenance staff for their support.


Zhao-ming LI, Hui LIU, and Hong LIU designed the study. Zhao-ming LI and Wen-zhu ZHANG performed the experiments. Hui LIU and Hong LIU supervised the study. Zhao-ming LI performed data analysis and drafted the manuscript. Hui LIU and Hong LIU contributed the editing and revision of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. Therefore, all authors had full access to all the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity and security of the data.

Compliance with ethics guidelines

Zhao-ming LI, Hui LIU, Wen-zhu ZHANG, and Hong LIU declare that they have no conflict of interest.

This study was approved by the Science and Ethics Committee of School of Biological Science and Medical Engineering in Beihang University, Beijing, China (Approval ID: BM20180003). All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008 (5). Informed consent was obtained from all participants for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Zhejiang University and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Biomedical EngineeringBeihang UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Environmental Biology and Life Support Technology, School of Biological Science and Medical EngineeringBeihang UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.International Joint Research Center of Aerospace Biotechnology & Medical EngineeringBeihang UniversityBeijingChina
  4. 4.School of Aviation Science and EngineeringBeihang UniversityBeijingChina

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