This is good news for nature lovers and another reason to go outside and enjoy the world: the more time you spend experiencing nature makes you more caring.
Recent research suggests that spending time in nature actually makes people “more caring.” The studies, by University of Rochester psychologists Netta Weinstein, Andrew Przybylski, and Richard Ryan, showed that people exposed to nature (well, mostly slideshows of nature) put a higher value on intrinsic aspirations, such as doing good in the world or having meaningful relationships, and lower value on extrinsic aspirations, like making a lot of cash or admired by many people. Now as I mentioned, the participants didn’t actually live outdoors for a while or anything as part of the study. Rather, in three of the studies, they looked at images of either the built environment or landscapes and such. And in the fourth, some participants were assigned to work in a laboratory either with or without plants around them. Then they answered a series of questions or were given tests of generosity. “The result? People who were in contact with nature were more willing to open their wallets and share. As with aspirations, the higher the immersion in nature, the more likely subjects were to be generous with their winnings.”