Sander van der Jagt

Degree of Doctor of Philisophy in Psychology

MSc Social and Organizational Psychology (Leiden University, The Netherlands)

BSc Psychology (Leiden University, The Netherlands)

Personal Details


Address: Room F30, School of Psycology, William Guild Building, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB24 2UB.

Tel: 078 15447367

Research Interests

The effects of exposure to nature on cognitive functioning

Understanding landscape preferences

The well-being effects of having access to small-scale nature within built settlements

Current Research

Understanding landscape change and environmental sustainability: The role of attention, working memory and restorative processes in environmental preference

The project combines theoretical and methodological perspectives from cognitive psychology, environmental psychology and geography to further empirical understanding of environmental preference. It is vital for sustainable management that planners, policy makers and general members of the public understand the environmental impact of landscape change. However, little systematic research has examined the role of attentional processes in determining environmental preference. In this project two possible predictors of environmental preference will be investigated; (a) the 'attentional load' involved in the virtual processing of natural and built scenes and objects, and (b) attention restoration, a commonly reported experience following visual exposure to nature. This research will aim to provide valuable insights into the cognitive systems that underlie people's understanding of landscape change, with some studies making use of ultra-rapid visual image presentations and eye tracking tools. Theoretical predictions made by attention restoration theory will be directly tested by systematically examining how the presence of built objects in a natural scene interacts with attentional allocation and the storage of representations in working memory.

Supervisors: Dr David G Pearson (UoA), Dr Tony Craig (The Macaulay Institute - Aberdeen), Dr Jillian Anable (UoA).

Research grants

Project funded through an ACES Interdisciplinary PhD Studentship