Prolonged exposure to urban environments poses higher cognitive processing demands than exposure to nature environments, even if sensory cues are restricted to visual ones only. Yet, it remains unclear whether environmentally induced differences in cognitive processing demand can be measured during short exposure times, prerequisite to being able to investigate the neural mechanisms underlying these differences. Here, we explored the moment-to-moment impact of environment type on visual cognitive processing load by measuring changes in gait kinematics and reaction times. In a walking experiment and a reaction time study, we provide converging evidence that exposure to urban scenes poses higher cognitive demands than exposure to nature scenes, an effect measurable with gait kinematics and reaction times even for short exposure times.
Contains:: Qualisys 3D motion capture data, visual projection information, stimulus set, and participant information for Experiment 1(gait kinematics), and reaction time data and participant information for Experiment 2;
DDS: Ute Leonards & Daria Burtan