The research confirms that even short engagement with nature shows leads to significant increases in positive emotions including awe, contentedness, joy and amusement
A new international study claims that watching nature programmes like Planet Earth II on TV makes you happier and reduces stress.
The research, conducted with Professor Dacher Keltner, an expert in the science of emotion at the University of California, Berkeley, confirms that even short engagement with nature shows leads to significant increases in positive emotions including awe, contentedness, joy and amusement.
The study also found those watching had substantial decreases in emotions such as nervousness, anxiety and fear.
BBC Worldwide’s in-house research team collaborated with Professor Keltner, who oversees on a two-phased study.
Over 7,500 participants from the US, UK, Singapore, India, South Africa and Australia were asked to complete a short survey to establish their mood state before being shown clips from the Planet Earth II series which is narrated by Sir David Attenborough .Blue Planet II on the way as David Attenborough set to voice new series this year
Planet Earth boss reveals what happened to doomed baby turtles
Their real time responses to the footage were captured using Crowd Emotion’s facial mapping technology and following the clips participants were asked to complete psychometric tests and a further questionnaire to assess the impact on their mood and outlook of watching the footage.
Alongside a control clip, clips of a popular drama and a reel of recent news stores were used to measure the impact of Planet Earth II content against a range of variables.
There was also a literature review of over 150 scientific studies that have explored the link between a connection with nature and human happiness and wellbeing.
Treated as religious deities Hanuman langurs are given all the food they can eat, and this has led to a baby boom.
Those that watched the clips showed “significant increases” in feelings of awe, amazement, wonder, curiosity, interest and wanting to explore; joy, excitement and enthusiasm; contentment, relaxation and peacefulness; amusement, having fun and laughing.
There were “significant decreases” in nervousness, anxiety and fear; stress and overburden; anger and irritability; tiredness, fatigue and low energy.
When tested against a control group, all the results were proven to have been caused by watching natural history content.
Professor Dacher Keltner said: “The shifts in emotion demonstrated in the BBC study as a result of watching this powerful natural history series are significant as we know that wonder and contentment are the foundations of human happiness.
“If people experience feelings of awe, they are more likely to display empathetic and charitable behaviours and have been shown to be better able to handle stress.”
The research was commissioned to mark the launch of one of the BBC’s most ambitious landmark nature series in ten years Planet Earth II, which recently premiered in the U.S. On BBC America to universal acclaim and strong viewership.
The funny tiny mouse on Planet Earth
The rare snow leopard on Planet Earth II (Photo: David Willis/BBC)
Mike Gunton, Executive Producer of Planet Earth II said: “What excites me about this study is seeing how Planet Earth II connects with people on a deep emotional level - as a film maker that is very rewarding.
"We’re always striving to bring our audiences closer to nature and it’s thrilling to see how this can generate such positive emotions and have a powerful impact on our viewer’s mood and wellbeing.
"I hope that in sparking an appreciation of the natural world Planet Earth II will also encourage people to love and protect the natural world.”
Six part series Planet Earth II was a huge hit when it aired on BBC1 at the end of last year, with audiences of over 12 million viewers.
March 8th, 2017