AI Can Find Link between Nature and Happiness

Thursday, March 26, 2020 - 00:16

Researchers from universities in Australia and Singapore have claimed that humans are naturally attracted to nature and people around the world have a preference for nature in their fun activities, vacations, and honeymoons.

Researchers used AI as part of an analysis of photos posted online that recognizes an association between happiness, life satisfaction and nature, Venture Beat reports.

“We found that, at a cross-national level, there was a positive association between the national life satisfaction score and the proportion of nature labels (plants) in the fun activity photographs,” the report reads.

“These results, taken together, suggest the importance of nature in providing the background to positive social contexts, presumably fond memories, as well as in contributing to life satisfaction in communities worldwide.”

Despite 100 million people in the United States today and nearly 1 in 5 around the world practicing social distancing to reduce spread of the novel coronavirus, depending on where you live, you can still take a walk or run and spend time in nature as long as you maintain six feet of space between yourself and other people. That’s what Dr. Anthony Fauci prescribes to feel good and reduce stress, even in a pandemic.

A cross-disciplinary group of researchers used AI as part of an analysis of photos posted online that recognizes an association between happiness, life satisfaction, and nature. Researchers from universities in Australia and Singapore say the analysis demonstrates the biophilia hypothesis that humans are naturally attracted to nature and people around the world have a preference for nature in their fun activities, vacations, and honeymoons.

The analysis of more than 31,000 photos also found that people in nations with high life satisfaction scores like Costa Rica and Finland tend to take a higher proportion of photographs during fun activities like weddings or recreation. Nature also appears prominently in vacation and honeymoon photos. The frequency of nature in different activities varied widely across countries.

"We found that, at a cross-national level, there was a positive association between the national life satisfaction score and the proportion of nature labels (plants) in the fun activity photographs,” the report reads. “These results, taken together, suggest the importance of nature in providing the background to positive social contexts, presumably fond memories, as well as in contributing to life satisfaction in communities worldwide.”

Despite 100 million people in the United States today and nearly 1 in 5 around the world practicing social distancing to reduce spread of the novel coronavirus, depending on where you live, you can still take a walk or run and spend time in nature as long as you maintain six feet of space between yourself and other people. That’s what Dr. Anthony Fauci prescribes to feel good and reduce stress, even in a pandemic.

For those ordered not to leave their homes, you might want to open your window shades or even watch a nature documentary. Work in multiple scientific fields finds that nature can help people relax and focus, improve life satisfaction, aid in psychological restoration, improve cognitive ability, reduce stress, and lower the risk of depression.

The work was published earlier this month in Scientific Reports, a Nature Research publication. Authors of the research paper believe AI should be used more often to understand things about humans from crowdsourced imagery.

“Coupling social media with artificial intelligence for automated approaches in image recognition opens up unique opportunities to carry out large-scale studies of cultural ecosystem services to advance our understanding in human-nature relationships,” the report reads.

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