Characteristics of eye movements while viewing indoor plants and improvements in occupants' cognitive functions

Soma Sugano*, Miku Tazaki, Haruka Arai, Kazuya Matsuo, Shin ichi Tanabe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Plants improve indoor environmental quality as a visual factor and enhance occupants' overall well-being. However, research on the mechanisms by which plants improve human cognitive function is limited. This study examined the characteristics of eye movement while viewing indoor plants and their relationship with the cognitive benefits of plants. Thirty students performed cognitive tasks in four desktop conditions: no objects, real plants, artificial plants, and books. Eye movements while viewing plants during rest times in the reading span task (RST), which requires working memory, were characterized by a lower number of fixations, frequent dispersion of fixation points, and a higher number of blinks. Females showed higher RST scores under the real plant condition than under the no-object condition. These results are consistent with the assumption that plants require lower cognitive effort and better restoration of attention capacity. In addition, in the real plant condition, females showed higher RST scores than males, and only females showed higher creativity scores than those in other conditions. Therefore, gender differences in the cognitive benefits of plants have been suggested. This study provides new insights into the effects of indoor plants on occupants' cognitive functions by quantifying visual perception processes using eye-tracking technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-632
Number of pages12
JournalJapan Architectural Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Oct


  • biophilic design
  • cognitive function
  • creativity
  • eye tracking
  • working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Modelling and Simulation


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