In summer 2010, the Atchleys joined with another researcher from the University of Utah to see what four days of backpacking in the wilderness, untethered from electronics, did for the creativity and problem-solving abilities of about 60 adults ages 18 to 60.
The effect was pretty plain to see: their creativity increased by a full 50 percent.
Perhaps that's no surprise, said Ruth Ann Atchley, an associate professor and chairwoman of KU's psychology department.
But it has huge implications for a society spending ever more time staring at electronic screens and less time just being outside. The Atchleys' study, published in December in an online open-access journal, cited data suggesting that a typical child today spends around 15-25 minutes per day playing outside and more than seven hours per day using media via TV, cellphones or computers. Adults spend even more time consumed by technology.
"We're being dragged in so many different directions and being tasked to deal with so many different things that we're beyond our capacity," said Paul Atchley, a professor of psychology.http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2013/jan/05/unplugging-electronics-escaping-nature-makes-50-pe/