What makes your heart beat at the park? Urban species richness, heart rate variability and mood

Grantham Scholar Simone Farris’ project focuses on the positive effects that urban biodiversity generates on citizens’ psychophysiological wellbeing.

Can urban biodiversity help us with our mental health? This research project will focus on the positive effects which urban biodiversity may generate on citizens’ psychophysiological wellbeing.

Through experimentally controlling biodiversity levels while monitoring mood and heart rate variability, I aim to better understand the processes produced by the brain-body interactions when we spend time in urban green spaces. However, alongside this I will also pay attention to social aspects. Social aspects include: preferences and perceptions about nature and nature connectedness and how these may act as moderators in the biodiversity/wellbeing relationship.


Free sustainability webinars. Simone was part of a group who organised the Rewilding: Plant it and They Will Come webinar. Created as part of our ongoing public engagement, it is on of a playlist of Grantham Scholar webinars available on YouTube.


‘Does increasing biodiversity in an urban woodland setting promote positive emotional responses in humans? A stress recovery experiment using 360-degree videos of an urban woodland.’ Simone Farris, Nicola Dempsey, Kirsten McEwan, Helen Hoyle, Ross Cameron. Published: February 7, 2024. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0297179

Other profiles

You can find out more about Simone Farris on his department profile page.


Dr Ross Cameron

Department of Landscape Architecture