|Authors||Van der Jagt, A.P.N., Craig, T., Brewer, M.J. and Pearson, D.G.|
|Publication details||PLoS ONE 12(7), e0169997.|
|Keywords||saliency, cognitive, restoration, affect, natural scenes, built scenes, attention restoration theory|
Attention Restoration Theory (ART) states that built scenes place greater load on attentional resources than natural scenes. This is explained in terms of "hard" and "soft" fascination of built and natural scenes. Given a lack of direct empirical evidence for this assumption we propose that perceptual saliency of scenes can function as an empirically derived indicator of fascination. Experiment 1 shows that built scenes are more salient than natural scenes. Experiment 2 replicates these findings using greyscale images, ruling out a colour-based response strategy, and additionally shows that built objects in natural scenes affect saliency to a greater extent than the reverse. Experiment 3 demonstrates that scene saliency is directly linked to cognitive restoration using an established restoration paradigm. Overall, these findings demonstrate an important link between the saliency of a scene content and related cognitive restoration.