Physical discomfort may be reduced in the presence of interior plants
This experiment was designed to examine the role of
plants in people's responses to physical
discomfort. Subjects were randomly assigned to a
treatment room with plants, colorful objects, or nothing
added. Each was asked to place his or her hand in
ice water and remove the hand if it was
uncomfortable. Subjects were also asked about
their perceptions of the treatment room.
(Click on photo for a larger version.)
We found that more subjects were willing to keep a hand submerged in ice water for 5 minutes if they were in a room with plants present than if they were in a room without plants. This was found to be true even when the room without plants had other colorful objects that might help the subject focus on something other than the discomfort. Results from a room assessment survey confirmed that the room with colorful, non-plant objects was as interesting and colorful as the room with plants present, but the presence of plants was perceived as making the air in the room fresher.
Lohr, V.I. and C.H. Pearson-Mims. 2000. Physical discomfort may be reduced in the presence of interior plants. HortTechnology 10(1):53-58. Abstract
Lohr, V.I. and C.H. Pearson-Mims. 2008. People's response to discomfort in the presence of interior plants or art. Acta Horticulturae 790:173-178.
Department of Horticulture
Washington State University
Pullman, Washington 99164-6414 U.S.A.
Updated March 20, 2015