Semester of Graduation

Spring 2019


Master of Construction Management (MCM)


Department of Construction Management

Document Type



Biophilic design, which translates literally to love of life [1], is a new and popular trend in sustainable building design. Architects are applying this style in different building types, from offices to schools to hospitals. Research that assesses mental health and cognitive benefits of biophilic design in interior environment and immersive reality is ongoing. This study intends to determine the capability of immersive virtual environment (IVE) to support building design by comparing the psychological and cognitive responses to natural elements in an interior environment (In-Situ) and IVE. Thirty-five LSU students from undergraduate and graduate levels participated in this experiment. A wearable heart rate monitor was used to measure heart rate variability in each condition. Individuals performed working memory tests after being exposed to each environment (In-Situ and IVE). After completing the working memory tests, they were asked to fill out the PANAS survey. The PANAS survey is about the participant's mood at that moment. Additionally, if they were doing the IVEs part of the experiment, they were asked to answer the IPQ survey. The IPQ survey is about their presence in each virtual reality environment.

Our results demonstrate that participants had a less negative mood, a more positive feeling, and a better cognitive performance in a biophilic environment in In-Situ. Furthermore, our results indicate that individuals had significantly fewer negative moods in a biophilic environment in IVEs. Our results also show that individuals had more positive moods in a biophilic environment in IVEs but not at 95% level of significance. Additionally, our results show that biophilic design’s effect on cognitive performance is not statistically significant. Since biophilic design did not change cognitive performance in IVEs, more studies need to be done to measure the required time to impact cognitive performance in IVEs.

Committee Chair

Zhu, Yimin