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Study Shows Human Beings Are Attached to the Wilderness for Fulfillment of Basic Psychological Needs

Study Shows Human Beings Are Attached to the Wilderness for Fulfillment of Basic Psychological Needs

It makes a lot of sense.

A recent study that was published in Environment and Behavior suggests that human beings feel attached to wilderness landscapes because of nature's ability to fulfill our most basic psychological needs: those of competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Lots of research has examined how individuals form attachments with their physical spaces, but the way people form bonds with natural landscapes has been something of a mystery until now. The study author is Adam C. Landon and he and his team speculate that it has something to do with our innate need as humans to try to fulfill our psychological needs.

Landon is a scientist at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and he also serves as an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Minnesota. “Generally, I find the psychological processes that underpin humans’ connection to nature fascinating, and critically important in this period of widespread global change. The more we understand about why people come to value nature, the better, and I think place attachment falls under this umbrella,” Landon said. He adds that increasing attention is paid to the role that nature has in psychological functioning, and their study builds on that.

Free-Photos, Pixabay
Free-Photos , Pixabay

In Landon's view, wilderness contexts support optimal psychological functioning. Furthermore, he adds that "contextual support yields affective outcomes in the form of place attachment.” The study was inspired by Ryan and Deci's Self-Determination Theory. Most researchers agree that three psychological needs underlie human motivation. Autonomy is the need for independence, competence is the need to develop mastery by overcoming challenges, and the need to connect with others, which is relatedness. the study sampled 795 Americans who had recent outings within the Southern Appalachian region.

Free-Photos, Pixabay
Free-Photos , Pixabay

In the study, the participants were given a set of questions that assessed their attachment to the area they visited. The results showed that a landscape's ability to fulfill psychological needs is significant. “The importance that people attribute to a physical space is in part a result of that space supporting their psychological needs for feeling connected to other people, experiencing feelings of competence, and autonomy in their behavioral choices,” Landon told PsyPost. He hopes that more research in this area will promote the idea that wilderness landscapes would be seen as places of value and protection.

Image: 12019 , Pixabay

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