Blue Mind Research & References

Collected reports and publications related to and cited in Blue Mind.

(Graphic: Conservation Magazine)

“There is something about being in water and swimming which alters my mood, gets my thoughts going, as nothing else can.

Theories and stories would construct themselves in my mind as I swam to and fro, or round and round...sentences and paragraphs would write themselves in my mind, and at such times I would have to come to shore every so often to discharge them.”

- Oliver Sacks in Blue Mind

Academic Research Papers and Dissertations

Some of this research is quite preliminary, some exploratory and speculative, other studies have remarkably small sample sizes, and much of it is interdisciplanary but as we begin to connect the dots a compelling and practical narrative about our personal, emotional relationship with water emerges. We call it Blue Mind.

Please feel free to email us with edits or additional resources for this growing list.

Abd El Aziz AN , K Jahangir, Y Kobayashi, F Norliyana , A Ahmad Jamil. 2012. Evaluation of the Effect of Preoperative Natural Water Fountain Melody on Teenagers’ Behavior - Preliminary Study. American Journal of Sociological Research 2(4): 78-81.

Adler-Cohen C, T Czarnowicki, J Dreiher, T Ruzicka, A Ingber, M Harari. 2012. Climatotherapy at the Dead Sea: an effective treatment modality for atopic dermatitis with significant positive impact on quality of life. Dermatitis 23(2):75-80.

Aspinall, P, P Mavros, R Coyne, J Roe. 2013. The urban brain: analysing outdoor physical activity with mobile EEG. British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Batista e Silva, J, M da Graça Saraiva, I Loupa Ramos, F Bernardo. 2013. Improving Visual Attractiveness to Enhance City–River Integration—A Methodological Approach for Ongoing Evaluation. Planning Practice & Research 28(2): 163-185.

Benson, E, J Hansen, AI Schwartz Jr., GT Smersh. Pricing Residential Amenities: The Value of a View. Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics. 16: 1, 55-73. 1998.

Berman, MG , J Jonides, and S Kaplan. 2008. The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting With Nature. Psychological Science 19(12): 1207-1212.

Caddick, N, B Smith, and C Phoenix. In Press. Male combat veterans’ narratives of PTSD, masculinity, and health. Sociology of Health & Illness Vol. xx No. xx 2014 ISSN 0141-9889, pp. 1–15. doi: 10.1111/1467-9566.12183

Chawla, L. 2006. Learning to love the natural world enough to protect it. Barn 2, 57-78.

Claybaugh, MA. 1998. The sea-change in American sea narratives : an experiential perspective. Thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa) in American Studies.

Cohrs, J.C., Christie, D.J., White, M.P., Das, C. (In Press). Contributions of positive psychology to peace: Towards global well-being and resilience. American Psychologist, 68, 590-600.

Coss, RG, S Ruff, T Simms. 2003. All That Glistens: II. The Effects of Reflective Surface Finishes on the Mouthing Activity of Infants and Toddlers. Ecological Psychology 15(3): 197-213.

Gani, MR and ND Gani. 2011. River-margin habitat of Ardipithecus ramidus at Aramis, Ethiopia 4.4 million years ago, Nature Communications 2, Article number: 602 doi:10.1038/ncomms1610

Guéguen, N and J Stefan. 2014. “Green Altruism”: Short Immersion in Natural Green Environments and Helping Behavior. Environment and Behavior.

Howell, AJ, RL Dopko, HA Passmore, K Buro. 2011. Nature connectedness: Associations with well-being and mindfulness. Personality and Individual Differences. 51(2): 166–171.

Hug SM, Hartig T, Hansmann R, Seeland K, Hornung R. 2009. Restorative qualities of indoor and outdoor exercise settings as predictors of exercise frequency. Health Place 15(4):971-80.


Lazarow, N, ML Miller, B Blackwell. 2009. Tourism in Marine Environments. 5(2/3): 145-158.

Lee, SL, Liu, CY, Lu, YY and Gau, ML. 2013. Efficacy of Warm Showers on Labor Pain and Birth Experiences During the First Labor Stage. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 42:19–28.

Martini, M, D Perez-Marcos, MV Sanchez-Vives. 2013. What Color is My Arm? Changes in Skin Color of an Embodied Virtual Arm Modulates Pain Threshold. Frontiers In Human Neuroscience 7: 438.

Morgan, P, AJ Salacinski, MA Stults-Kolehmainen, Matthew A. 2013. The Acute Effects of Flotation Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique on Recovery From Maximal Eccentric Exercise. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.

Neville C, Clifton K, Henwood T, Beattie E, McKenzie MA. 2013. Watermemories: a swimming club for adults with dementia. J Gerontol Nurs. 39(2):21-5.

Roe, J, P Aspinall. 2011. The restorative benefits of walking in urban and rural settings in adults with good and poor mental health. Health and Place 17: 103–113.

Rudd, M, KD Vohs, J Aaker. 2012. Can the experience of awe increase perceived time availability? Psychological Science 23(10): 1130–1136.

Russell, E (editor). 2012. Environment, Culture, and the Brain: New Explorations in Neurohistory. Munich, Germany: Rachel Carson Center.
Seiler, MJ, MT Bond, and VL Seiler, V.L 2001. The Impact of World Class Great Lakes Water Views On Residential Property Values. Appraisal Journal 69(3): 287-295.

Slepian ML, N Ambady. Fluid movement and creativity. J Exp Psychol Gen. 141(4): 625-9.

Stansbury, DE, T Naselaris, JL Gallant. 2013. Natural Scene Statistics Account for the Representation of Scene Categories in Human Visual Cortex. Neuron.

Thompson, W, CJ Roe, P Aspinall, R Mitchell, A Clow, D Miller. 2012. More green space is linked to less stress in deprived communities: Evidence from salivary cortisol patterns. Landscape and Urban Planning 105(3): 221-229.

Ulrich, R.S. 1984. View through a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science 224(4647): 420-42

Völker S, Kistemann T. 2011. The impact of blue space on human health and well-being - Salutogenetic health effects of inland surface waters: a review. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 214(6): 449-60.

Völker S, Kistemann T. 2012. "I'm always entirely happy when I'm here!" Urban blue enhancing human health and well-being in Cologne and Düsseldorf, Germany. Soc Sci Med 78:113-24.

Wheeler, B, White, M, Fleming, LE, Taylor, T, Harvey, A, Depledge, MH. (In Press). Influences of the Oceans on human health and wellbeing. In Bowen R (ed) Seas Society & Human Well-being, London: Wiley.

White, MP, Alcock, I, Wheeler, BW, Depledge, MH. 2013. Coastal proximity, health and well-being: Results from a longitudinal panel survey. Health & Place, 23, 97-103.

White, M., Cracknell, D., Corcoran, A., Jenkinson, G., Depledge, M.H. 2013. Do preferences for waterscapes persist in inclement weather conditions and extend to sub-aquatic scenes?. Landscape Research.

White, M.P., Pahl, S., Ashbullby, K., Herbert, S., Depledge, M.H. (2013). Feelings of restoration from recent nature visits. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 35, 40-51.

Williamson JW. 1992. The effects of ocean sounds on sleep after coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Am J Crit Care 1(1): 91-7.

Wyles, KJ, S Pahl, M White, S Morris, D Cracknell, RC Thompson. 2013. Towards a Marine Mindset: Visiting an aquarium can improve attitudes and intentions regarding marine sustainability. Visitor Studies 16(1): 95-110.

You, J, PJ Lee, JY Jeon. 2010. Evaluating water sounds to improve the soundscape of urban areas affected by traffic noise. Noise Control Engineering Journal 58(5): 477-483.

Adjusting the market value of coastal property for beach quality Appraisal Journal

Conservation Means Behavior. Conservation Biology

Using Psychology to Save Biodiversity and Human Well-Being. Conservation Biology

Coast, countryside and the National Trust. ECEHH

The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing): evidence from field experiments in 24 forests across Japan. Environ Health Prev Med

Does participating in physical activity outdoors have a greater effect on physical and mental wellbeing than physical activity indoors?  A systematic review. Environmental Science and Technology

Does living by the coast improve health and wellbeing? Health & Place

The impact of blue space on human health and well-being – Salutogenetic health effects of inland surface waters: A review. Int. J. Hyg. Environ. Health:

Blue space: The importance of water for preference, affect, and restorativeness ratings of natural and built scenes. Journal of Environmental Psychology

Effect of environmental conditions on perceived psychological restorativeness of coastal parks. Journal of Environmental Psychology

Endogenous kappa opioid activation mediates stress-induced deficits in learning and memory. Journal of Neuroscience

Modelling The Value Of View in Real Estate Valuation: A 3-D GIS Approach. Journal of the Pacific Rim Real Estate Society

Differential engagement of anterior cingulate and adjacent medial frontal cortex in adept meditators and non-meditators. Neuroscience Letters

Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings. PLOS

Rapid natural scene categorization in the near absence of attention. PNAS:

Spectral quality of light modulates emotional brain responses in humans. PNAS

The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting With Nature. Psychological Science:

Blue or Red? Exploring the Effect of Color on Cognitive Task Performances. Science

Coastal Populations Are Healthier Than Those Inland. Science Daily

Being seaside is good for you. Science Daily


Books of Interest

"What transpires in the mind when one visualizes the sea presumably bears little interesting resemblance to the sea. The mind isn't blue, it isn't a body of water, and so forth. But visualizing the ocean might substantially resemble an episode of seeing the ocean, either an actual seeing or a hypothetical one."

Goleman, D. Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence.

Kahneman, D. Thinking, Fast and Slow.

Levitin, DL. This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession

Linden, DJ. The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good.

Nichols, WJ. BlueMind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.

Roerden, LP. 2002. Lessons of the Wild. In: Schools with Spirit: Nurturing the Inner Lives of Children and Teachers.


Articles, Projects, Presetations, and Reports

ECEHH: Outdoor space and dementia: A systematic review

ECEHH: Psycho-physiological responses to indoor cycling in different environments

ECEHH: The beach as a setting for families’ health promotion

ECEHH: The Inhabitat Project: Using collaborative science to explore linkages between environmental condition and human health and wellbeing

Travis Central Appraisal District: View Attributes in the Appraisal of Real Estate

Weir, K. “Your cheating brain,” New Scientist, 21 (March 2014), 35–37.