Skip to main content

Do Indoor Plants Improve Performance Outcomes?: Using the Attention Restoration Theory

Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC,volume 825)

Abstract

The current study used the Attention Restoration Theory to investigate whether plants in an office context produced restorative effects that enable employees to perform better. This study was one of the first attempts to empirically investigate the effect of indoor plants on experiences of performance outcomes within South Africa. In this experimental study, 120 participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (1) no plants or pictures of plants; (2) only plants; (3) only canvas pictures of plants. The rooms were identical in every other respect. Participants completed two tasks (a card-sorting task and a reading task) and two questionnaires, namely the connectedness to nature scale to assess participant’s nature identity and a perceived task performance questionnaire. The results from the ANOVA’s demonstrated a reduction in participants’ errors (F(2, 117) = 7.137, p = 0.001), a positive reaction to the given task (F(2, 117) = 8.904, p = 0.000), as well as reduction in participants’ task completion time (F(2, 117) = 43.422, p = 0.000) in the plants condition. The result from the two-way ANOVA’s demonstrated that nature identity did not moderate the above relationships (errors: F(1, 114) = 2.060, p = 0.132; completion time: F(1, 114) = 0.967, p = 0.383; reaction to the task: F(1, 114) = 0.017, p = 0.983).

Keywords

  • Indoor plants
  • Performance
  • Attention restoration theory

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-96068-5_65
  • Chapter length: 14 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   269.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-96068-5
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   349.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 1.

References

  • Adachi M, Rohde CLE, Kendle AD (2000) Effects of floral and foliage displays on human emotions. HortTechnology 10:59–63

    Google Scholar 

  • Babbie E (2013) The Practice of Social Research. CENGAGE learning, Wadsworth

    Google Scholar 

  • Bjørnstad S, Patil GG, Raanaas RK (2016) Nature contact and organizational support during office working hours: benefits relating to stress reduction, subjective health complaints, and sick leave. Work 53:9–20

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Bringslimark T, Hartig T, Patil GG (2007) Psychological benefits of indoor plants in workplaces: putting experimental results into context. HortScience 42:581–587

    Google Scholar 

  • Bringslimark T, Hartig T, Patil GG (2009) The psychological benefits of indoor plants: a critical review of the experimental literature. J Environ Psychol 29:422–433

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Bringslimark T, Hartig T, Patil GG (2011) Adaptation to windowlessness: do office workers compensate for a lack of visual access to the outdoors? Environ Behav 43:469–487

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Colligan TW, Higgins EM (2006) Workplace stress: Etiology and consequences. J Workplace Behav Health 21:89–97

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Costa PR, James RW (1999) Air conditioning and noise control using vegetation. In: Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate, vol 3, pp 234–239

    Google Scholar 

  • Dravigne A, Waliczek TM, Lineberger RD, Zajicek JM (2008) The effect of live plants and window views of green spaces on employee perceptions of job satisfaction. HortScience 43:183–187

    Google Scholar 

  • Fjeld T (2000) The effect of interior planting on health and discomfort among workers and school children. HortTechnology 10:46–52

    Google Scholar 

  • Grinde B, Patil GG (2009) Biophilia: does visual contact with nature impact on health and well-being? Int J Environ Res Public Health 6:2332–2343

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Hartig T, van den Berg AE, Hagerhall CM, Tomalak M, Bauer N, Hansmann R, Bell S (2011). Health benefits of nature experience: psychological, social and cultural processes. In: Forests, Trees and Human Health. Springer, Netherlands, pp 127–168

    Google Scholar 

  • Heerwagen J, Hase B (2001) Building biophilia: connecting people to nature in building design. Environ Des Constr 3:30–36

    Google Scholar 

  • Kaplan S (1995) The restorative benefits of nature: toward an integrative framework. J Environ Psychol 15:169–182

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Keniger LE, Gaston KJ, Irvine KN, Fuller RA (2013) What are the benefits of interacting with nature? Int J Environ Res Public Health 10:913–935

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Knight C, Haslam SA (2010) The relative merits of lean, enriched, and empowered offices: an experimental examination of the impact of workspace management strategies on well-being and performance. J Exp Psychol Appl 16:158

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Kweon BS, Ulrich RS, Walker VD, Tassinary LG (2008) Anger and stress: the role of landscape posters in an office setting. Environ Behav 40:355–381

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Larsen L, Adams J, Deal B, Kweon BS, Tyler E (1998) Plants in the workplace the effects of plant density on performance, attitudes, and perceptions. Environ Behav 30:261–281

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Lohr VI, Pearson-Mims CH, Goodwin GK (1996) Interior plants may improve worker performance and reduce stress in a windowless environment. J Environ Hortic 14:97–100

    Google Scholar 

  • Lottrup L, Stigsdotter UK, Meilby H, Claudi AG (2015) The workplace window view: a determinant of office workers’ work ability and job satisfaction. Landscape Res 40:57–75

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Lottrup L, Grahn P, Stigsdotter UK (2013) Workplace greenery and perceived level of stress: benefits of access to a green outdoor environment at the workplace. Landscape Urban Plan 110:5–11

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Mayer FS, Frantz CM (2004) The connectedness to nature scale: a measure of individuals’ feeling in community with nature. J Environ Psychol 24:503–515

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Morton TA, van der Bles AM, Haslam SA (2017) Seeing our self reflected in the world around us: the role of identity in making (natural) environments restorative. J Environ Psychol 49:65–77

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Miyake S (2001, October) Foliage plants at the workplace its images and effects. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, vol 45. SAGE Publications, Los Angeles, pp 813–817

    Google Scholar 

  • Musango JK, Brent AC, Bassi AM (2014) Modelling the transition towards a green economy in South Africa. Technol Forecast Soc Chang 87:257–273

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Nieuwenhuis M, Knight C, Postmes T, Haslam SA (2014) The relative benefits of green versus lean office space: three field experiments. J Exp Psychol Appl 20:199

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Pearson-Mims CH, Lohr VI (2000) Reported impacts of interior plantscaping in office environments in the United States. HortTechnology 10(1):82–86

    Google Scholar 

  • Raanaas RK, Evensen KH, Rich D, Sjøstrøm G, Patil GG (2011) Benefits of indoor plants on attention capacity in an office setting. J Environ Psychol 31:99–105

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Relf D (1990) Psychological and sociological response to plants: implications for horticulture. HortScience 25:11–13

    Google Scholar 

  • Shibata S, Suzuki N (2004) Effects of an indoor plant on creative task performance and mood. Scand J Psychol 45:373–381

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Smith A, Pitt M (2009) Sustainable workplaces: improving staff health and well-being using plants. J Corp Real Estate 11:52–63

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Thatcher A (2013) Green ergonomics: definition and scope. Ergonomics 56:389–398

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Thatcher A, Kalantzis A (2017) Do plants in an office improve perceptions of wellbeing and work effectiveness? The case of a call centre. In: Charles R, Wilkinson J (eds) Contemporary Ergonomics and Human Factors 2017. Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors, Loughborough, pp 192–199

    Google Scholar 

  • Thatcher A, Milner K (2016) Is a green building really better for building occupants? A longitudinal evaluation. Build Environ 108:194–206

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Tennessen CM, Cimprich B (1995) Views to nature: effects on attention. J Environ Psychol 15:77–85

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Thomson FJ, Moles AT, Auld TD, Kingsford RT (2011) Seed dispersal distance is more strongly correlated with plant height than with seed mass. J Ecol 99:1299–1307

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Ulrich R (1984) View through a window may influence recovery. Science 224:224–225

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Van den Berg AE, Koole SL, van der Wulp NY (2003) Environmental preference and restoration: (How) are they related? J Environ Psychol 23:135–146

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Velarde MD, Fry G, Tveit M (2007) Health effects of viewing landscapes – landscape types in environmental psychology. Urban Forest Urban Greening 6:199–212

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Venkatesh V, Speier C (1999) Computer technology training in the workplace: a longitudinal investigation of the effect of mood. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 79:1–28

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Wang C, Er SS, Abdul-Rahman H (2016) Indoor vertical greenery system in urban tropics. Indoor Built Environ 25:340–356

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Wilson A, Kendal D, Moore JL (2016) Humans and ornamental plants: a mutualism? Ecopsychology 8:257–263

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Yang DS, Pennisi SV, Son KC, Kays SJ (2009) Screening indoor plants for volatile organic pollutant removal efficiency. HortScience 44:1377–1381

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kaylin Adamson .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2019 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this paper

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this paper

Adamson, K., Thatcher, A. (2019). Do Indoor Plants Improve Performance Outcomes?: Using the Attention Restoration Theory. In: Bagnara, S., Tartaglia, R., Albolino, S., Alexander, T., Fujita, Y. (eds) Proceedings of the 20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA 2018). IEA 2018. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 825. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-96068-5_65

Download citation