Beyond savanna: An evolutionary and environmental psychology approach to behavioral effects of nature scenery in green advertising

  • Departamento de Economía de la Empresa y Comercialización, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, University of the Basque Country, Avda. Lehendakari Aguirre, 83, 48015 Bilbao, Spain


Evolutionary psychology has been proposed as an analytic framework for the behavioral effects of landscapes displayed in advertising. In this study, an evolutionary and environmental psychology approach is used to analyze affective reactions to advertising depicting specific natural environments or urban scenes, both prominent ingredients of contemporary advertising imagery. The experimental field study exposed 750 participants at random to one advert of a set of 13 experimental green energy advertisements, each displaying a different biome. Six basic emotional responses (pleasure, arousal, happiness, freedom, safety, and interest) as well as attitude toward the ad and brand attitude were assessed subsequently. Anova and structural equation analysis were used for data analysis. Results of the study confirm the leading opinion on generalized more positive behavioral effects toward visual stimuli representing nature scenes with biospheric contents as opposed to pictures of urban environments or desert settings. In line with earlier empirical research, further findings do not support the hypothesis on an innate preference for savanna landscapes in adults but confirm preferences for images of lush green landscapes with water and familiar biomes. Overall results give significant support to the application of environmental and evolutionary psychology to advertising.


  • Nature imagery;
  • Landscape preferences;
  • Evolutionary psychology;
  • Environmental psychology;
  • Green advertising;
  • Habitat selection
Corresponding author. Tel.: +34 945 01 4482.

Tel.: +34 945 01 4489.