People have been bringing plants into residential and other indoor settings for centuries, but little is known about their psychological effects. In the present article, we critically review the experimental literature on the psychological benefits of indoor plants. We focus on benefits gained through passive interactions with indoor plants rather than on the effects of guided interactions with plants in horticultural therapy or the indirect effect of indoor plants as air purifiers or humidifiers. The reviewed experiments addressed a variety of outcomes, including emotional states, pain perception, creativity, task-performance, and indices of autonomic arousal. Some findings recur, such as enhanced pain management with plants present, but in general the results appear to be quite mixed. Sources of this heterogeneity include diversity in experimental manipulations, settings, samples, exposure durations, and measures. After addressing some overarching theoretical issues, we close with recommendations for further research with regard to experimental design, measurement, analysis, and reporting.
London: Academic Press , 2009. Vol. 29, no 4, 422-433 p.