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Title: Wilderness and well-being: Complexity, time, and psychological growth

Author: Vitterso, Joar;

Date: 2002

Source: In: Watson, Alan E.; Alessa, Lilian; Sproull, Janet, comps. Wilderness in the Circumpolar North: searching for compatibility in ecological, traditional, and ecotourism values; 2001 May 15-16; Anchorage, AK. Proceedings RMRS-P-26. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 115-119.

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: This paper presents the argument for interdisciplinary wilderness research. The idea of interdisciplinarity is grounded in theories of emotion and psychological growth that are compatible with basic knowledge in other scientific disciplines, and in particular with concepts related to evolution. Considering humans as biological knowledge systems, designed by natural selection to solve the problems faced by our evolutionary ancestors, some attributes of wilderness are hypothesized to be associated with the quality of positive, emotional experiences. This paper assumes that psychological growth takes place when a wilderness landscape is transformed into a landscape of personal meaning. In this process, the notion of cognitive complexity plays an important role, along with the necessity of spending time on processing information. It is suggested that developing cognitive representations from the initially unorganized information provided by an unfamiliar wilderness offers an optimal context for intrinsic motivation and psychological growth.

Keywords: biodiversity, tourism, wilderness, conflict, collaboration, culture, traditional ecological knowledge

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
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Vitterso, Joar. 2002. Wilderness and well-being: Complexity, time, and psychological growth. In: Watson, Alan E.; Alessa, Lilian; Sproull, Janet, comps. Wilderness in the Circumpolar North: searching for compatibility in ecological, traditional, and ecotourism values; 2001 May 15-16; Anchorage, AK. Proceedings RMRS-P-26. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 115-119.

 


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