Aggression and Violence in the Inner City Effects of Environment Via Mental Fatigue

11656 Words Mar 21st, 2015 47 Pages
Kuo, Sullivan / AGGRESSION AND / July 2001 ENVIRONMENT AND BEHAVIOR VIOLENCE

AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN THE INNER CITY Effects of Environment via Mental Fatigue

FRANCES E. KUO is an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, UrbanaChampaign. Her research examines effects of the environment on healthy human functioning in individuals, families, and communities. WILLIAM C. SULLIVAN is an associate professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His research focuses on the psychological and social benefits of urban nature and citizen participation in environmental decision making.

ABSTRACT: S. Kaplan suggested that one outcome of mental fatigue may be an increased propensity for outbursts of anger and even
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This study examines whether
ENVIRONMENT AND BEHAVIOR, Vol. 33 No. 4, July 2001 543-571 © 2001 Sage Publications

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544 ENVIRONMENT AND BEHAVIOR / July 2001

natural elements such as trees and grass can decrease aggression. In addition, it tests a potential mechanism by which natural features—and by extension other environmental features—may affect aggression. In doing so, it suggests a new role for environment and behavior research in an important public policy domain—addressing aggression and violence in inner cities—and contributes possible new insight into the psychological factors underlying human aggression. There are hints in the literature that exposure to nearby nature, for instance, a garden or a grassy area with trees, may reduce aggression. For instance, violent assaults by Alzheimer patients were compared during two consecutive summers in five long-term care facilities, two in which exterior gardens were installed and three without gardens (Mooney & Nicell, 1992). In Alzheimer patients, increases in the number of aggressive assaults each year are typical as a consequence of the progressive deterioration of cognitive processes; and indeed, in the facilities without gardens, the incidence of violent assaults increased dramatically. By contrast, in the other facilities, the incidence of violent

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