Is Interior Wood use Psychologically Beneficial? A Review of Psychological Responses Toward Wood

Anders Q. Nyrud, Tina Bringslimark

Abstract


Over the past decades, a number of empirical studies have documented that nature or elements of nature in both outdoor and indoor settings can be beneficial for human health and well-being. Wood is a natural product and it is therefore relevant to investigate whether interior wood use might have some of the same beneficial effects. The aim of the present study is therefore to investigate whether interior wood use might be psychologically beneficial by reviewing studies that have investigated psychological responses toward wood. The study also provides a general introduction to theories that can help explain why wood might be psychologically beneficial. Studies related to psychological responses toward interior wood use have generally focused on three different outcomes: 1) perception of wood, including both visual perception and tactile sensation; 2) attitudes and preferences (aesthetic evaluation) of various wood products; and 3) psychophysiological responses toward wood. The review posits that there seem to be similarities in preferences for wood and that people prefer wood because it is natural. In addition, affective responses toward wood seem to be measurable, giving indications of psychological beneficial effects. However, caution should be made in concluding from the review that interior wood use is psychologically beneficial. Thus, theoretical, methodological, and practical implications are discussed and research needs identified.

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