Neuroscience application for the analysis of cultural ecosystem services related to stress relief in forest
Forests, 2020, Vol. 11, Issue 2, 190
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The paper presents an integrated methodology to assess psychological and physiological responses of people when exposed to forests, with the main objective of assessing the suitability of different stands for stress recovery on the basis of tree species and density. From the methodological viewpoint, the study applies both a Restoration Outcome Scale (ROS) questionnaire and a neuroscientific technique grounded on electro-encephalographic (EEG) measurement. Results show different outcomes for conifers and broadleaves as well as a statistical significance of density in the evaluation of an individual’s emotional state. A forest with a high density of conifers and low density of broadleaves seems to be the proper combination for stress recovery. The differences among psychological stated preferences and EEG trends highlights potential conflict among “needs” and “wants” of people in the topic of stress relief. Potential applications of the research for health care and territorial marketing operations are suggested.