Virtual Nature: Investigating The Effect of Biomass on Immersive Virtual Reality Forest Bathing Applications For Stress Reduction

Rachel Masters, Victoria Interrante, Madeline Watts, Francisco Ortega

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Shinrin-yoku, also known as forest bathing, is a nature immersion practice that has been shown to have restorative effects on mental health. Recently, applications of shinrin-yoku in virtual reality (VR) have been investigated as means of providing similar mental health benefits to people that do not have direct access to nature. These applications have shown similar health benefits, although not to the extent of real nature. The factors that make VR nature immersion effective are little researched to date. This paper investigates the Biophilia Hypothesis in the context of a VR-based nature immersion experience. Twenty-six participants were immersed in a computer-generated virtual natural environment that was either high in biomass (forest) or devoid of biomass (canyon), after experiencing an arithmetic stressor task. We compared multiple restorative outcomes between the high and low biomass groups, as well as preference ratings for real and virtual high and low biomass scenes among all participants. Our results call for further investigation into data trends we observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - SAP 2022
Subtitle of host publicationACM Symposium on Applied Perception
EditorsStephen N. Spencer
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
ISBN (Electronic)9781450394550
StatePublished - Sep 22 2022
Event19th ACM Symposium on Applied Perception, SAP 2022 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Sep 22 2022Sep 23 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings - SAP 2022: ACM Symposium on Applied Perception


Conference19th ACM Symposium on Applied Perception, SAP 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to acknowledge the National Science Foundation for grant numbers: 2106590, 2016714, 2037417, 1948254, 2050540.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 ACM.


  • Affect
  • Biophilia
  • Forest Bathing
  • Nature Immersion
  • Virtual Reality


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