Nature and Cognition
The idea that nature is good for people is not exactly novel. For centuries, philosophers, artists and writers have extolled the virtues of nature on the human mind. According to the beloved Utah author Edward Abbey, “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.” In recent decades, a body of scientific evidence has emerged suggesting that there are indeed many cognitive benefits to interacting with nature, including a study published by our lab demonstrating that time outside boosts creativity. My colleagues and I have recently begun measuring neurophysiological correlates of “the nature effect” using electroencephalography (EEG). Understanding the neural mechanisms of the nature effect remains the primary interest of my many research interests. Previous research by my labmate Rachel Hopman and my advisor, Dr. David Strayer has been featured in National Geographic and bestselling author Florence William’s The Nature Fix.
The Applied Cognition Lab
I work in the applied cognition lab, under Dr. David Strayer and Dr. Joel Cooper, which focuses broadly on applied attention- particularly in the context of distracted driving. We use a variety of behavioral and neurophysiological measures including EEG and eye-tracking to understand the cognitive neuroscience of distraction. Current research projects include understanding driver behavior and physiology in autonomous vehicles, as well as interactions with in-vehicle information systems. If you are interested in being paid to participate in one of our driving studies, please see our lab’s ongoing studies page.
The LAMA lab
I additionally spend my time working in the Language and Memory Aging (LAMA) lab under Dr. Brennan Payne. Our research is focused on understanding cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying human language and memory systems across the adult lifespan. We use a variety of methodologies, including EEG, eye-tracking, heart-rate variability, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. I spend my time here working on a variety of EEG projects. Recently, I have been involved in a co-registered pupillometry and EEG study, examining relationships between phasic pupil size and the P3b component. We recently presented some preliminary work at the annual Psychonomic Society conference.
Publications and Manuscripts in prep
LoTemplio, S., Reynolds, T., Eshete, A., Abrahams, M., Bruesewitz, D., & Wall, J. A. (2016). Ethiopian Orthodox church forests provide hydrological ecosystem services: evidence from stream sediment and aquatic insect analyses. African Journal of Ecology 55, 247-251.
LoTemplio, S., Hopman, R.J., Scott, E.S., McKinney, T.L., McDonnell, A., Strayer, D.L. (in prep). Nature as a Modulator of the Error Related Negativity.
LoTemplio, S., & Coane, J.H. (submitted). Brief Exposure to Scientific Content Affects Acceptance Rates of Climate Change Misinformation.
Scott, E.S., Hopman, R.J., Crabtree, K., LoTemplio, S., McDonnell, A., Uchino, B., Strayer, D.L. (in prep). Cognitive, Affective, and Physiological Responses to Virtual Environments: A Pilot Study.
Hopman, R.J., Scott, EE., McKinney, T.L., LoTemplio, S., Euler, M.J. & Strayer, D.L. (submitted). Neurophysiological Changes from Prolonged Exposure in a Natural Environment.