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American Researchers Discover the Impact of Natural Patterns on the Human Brain

by Editor CTS
Researchers at the University of Oregon, U.S, have discovered that urban environments are not appealing to the human brain. Instead, it is nature that helps the human brain stay relaxed and anxiety-free.
Image credit: Pixabay
The reason behind this issue is the lack of fractals in urban cities. Fractals are geometric patterns that repeat themselves at different scales. These are self-similar and never-ending patterns that are created by repeating a simple process. Fractals can be seen in every object, such as rivers, trees, coastlines and clouds in nature.
A human brain requires only 50 milliseconds to detect and respond to natural fractals.
“As soon as we look at nature, it triggers a cascade of automatic responses”, said Richard Taylor, a physicist at the University of Oregon. “Even before we’ve noticed what we’re looking at, we’re responding to it.”
The effects of these natural fractals were found to be positive. Humans do not feel stressed when they walk through the woods and admire nature. Also, Taylor’s research shows that fractals in nature reduce mental fatigue and depression by as much as 60%.
Taylor also mentioned the research that showed that hospitalized patients could recover faster when they come in contact with nature. When patients are allowed to look outside through the window, the fractals in nature help relax their minds and get better.
“People really need aesthetic environments to keep themselves healthy,” said Taylor.
There are no fractals in urban cities. These urban environments have box-shaped buildings, windowless cubicles and simple corridors. The research focuses on creating more human-centric architecture that would lead to improved well-being and reduced stress.
“Stress currently costs the US economy more than $300 billion a year”, said Taylor. “Humans do not like looking at boxes. We need to reclaim our urban environment and put nature back into it.”
But, it is not easy to create simple and exciting fractals. The fractals need to be modified because different people respond differently to different fractals. Their response varies from buildings to natural fractals.
To know more about fractal effects, Richard Taylor collaborated with psychologist Margaret Sereno and architect Ihab Elzeyadi on design projects that consisted of fractals that are pleasing to the human mind. Some examples designed by Taylor’s team include the fractals at schools, workplaces, airports and other places where humans experience stress and anxiety.
The same designing concepts could be used to make fractals on window blinds, ceilings and other parts of the architecture, added Taylor. Also, the researchers are working on other projects that develop fractals for rooftop solar panels.
According to Taylor, the priority is to make human-centric design and architecture for the college campus. “If students were able to look at fractals instead of simple boxes and walls on exam morning. That would automatically reduce their stress and put their minds in a better place for the test. At our biological core is the desire to feel relaxed; it’s an essential need as a human. We can derive so many benefits from the stress-reducing quality of nature and we can measurably increase people’s well-being by reintroducing nature to design and architecture.”
The detailed research has been published in the journal Urban Science.

Contributed by: Sunaina Dolwani

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