10 Jul 2015

Here’s a dated press release, but it’s good stuff; the date doesn’t matter:

A study by researchers at the University of Utah and the University of Kansas found that backpackers scored 50 percent better on a creativity test after spending four days in nature disconnected from electronic devices.
The study involved 56 men and women with an average age of 28. They all went on four-to-six day hiking trips in Alaska, Colorado, Maine, and Washington state. They weren’t allowed to bring any electronic devices on the trips.
About half of the participants took a creativity test the morning before they began their trip, and 32 took the test on the morning of the fourth day of the trip.
During the test, participants were given 10 sets of three matching words. For each set, they were asked to come up with a fourth word that is tied to the other three.
Researchers found that those who had been backpacking four days got an average of 6.08 of the 10 questions correct, compared with an average score of 4.14 for those who had not yet started the backpacking trip.
“We show that four days of immersion in nature, and the corresponding disconnection from multimedia and technology, increases performance on a creativity, problem-solving task by a full 50 percent.”

If you’re a hiker, you’re probably not surprised at this news. I could’ve guessed at this, but I never did the research.