Measures and modalities in restorative virtual natural environments : An integrative narrative review

Abstract Decades of research in environmental psychology have shown that contact with natural environments has restorative, stress-ameliorating effects. At present, researchers in the emerging field of virtual natural environments are studying whether these restorative health effects can be reproduced with simulated environments, raising new possibilities for preventive healthcare and therapy. This paper aims to synthesize earlier research on restoration and virtual nature, including theory, measurement, and modalities. Restoration theories were reviewed regarding their connection to measures and modalities, identifying possible research gaps in the current approaches. Furthermore, we performed a descriptive analysis of empirical studies utilizing virtual nature for restoration, exploring the commonalities and differences between the studies, emphasizing measured outcomes and modalities. Based on a thematic analysis of the theoretical and empirical review, we also introduce a new conceptual model named the Multidimensional Model of Restoration Measurement. This model connects different aspects of restoration measurement and theories. We conclude the review by discussing current measurement practices and envision multiple paths for future research.
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