Events & Media

New York Times Examines MESM Alumnus's Unique PhD Research:
Gregory Bratman is studying how nature experiences favorably affect brain chemistry

Gregory Bratman portrait
Gregory Bratman

In a recent study, a group of researchers that included Bren School alumnus Gregory Bratman (MESM 2008) found that volunteers who walked through a leafy park or forested part of the Stanford University campus were happier and more attentive than those who walked near noisy traffic. Bratman lead-authored a paper on that study, which was published in the June 2015 issue of the journal Landscape and Urban Planning.

Bratman, who is pursuing a PhD at Stanford's Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, wanted to know more about the brain function involved in the different experiences that resulted from walking in two very different environments. The results of their inquiry appeared a couple of weeks ago in a new paper also lead-authored by Bratman and published the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

An article in The New York Times on July 22 looked into the studies, which are available at the links below:

1. The benefit of nature experience: Improved affect and cognition
2. Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation