Human physiological benefits of viewing nature: EEG responses to exact and statistical fractal patterns.
Journal article, 2015
Psychological and physiological benefits of viewing nature have been extensively studied for some time. More recently it has been suggested that some of these positive effects can be explained by nature's fractal properties. Virtually all studies on human responses to fractals have used stimuli that represent the specific form of fractal geometry found in nature, i.e. statistical fractals, as opposed to fractal patterns which repeat exactly at different scales. This raises the question of whether human responses like preference and relaxation are being driven by fractal geometry in general or by the specific form of fractal geometry found in nature. In this study we consider both types of fractals (statistical and exact) and morph one type into the other. Based on the Koch curve, nine visual stimuli were produced in which curves of three different fractal dimensions evolve gradually from an exact to a statistical fractal. The patterns were shown for one minute each to thirty-five subjects while qEEG was continuously recorded. The results showed that the responses to statistical and exact fractals differ, and that the natural form of the fractal is important for inducing alpha responses, an indicator of a wakefully relaxed state and internalized attention.