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Lai Yin Leong

Doctor of Philosophy
Study Completed: 2017
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Exploring the effects of outdoor activities and connectedness with nature on cognitive styles and creativity

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More people are living in urban societies and spending less time in nature. However, research suggests that it is more beneficial to spend time in a natural environment than in an urban environment. Ms Leong researched how contact with nature (through outdoor activities, and through connectedness and engagement with nature) might affect humans. She found that overall, outdoor activities affect personal and social outcomes positively. In addition, students who feel a closer connection with nature are more likely to exhibit creative traits and behaviour. Focused engagement with nature can also boost our creative thinking for divergent creativity tasks by strengthening a sense of connectedness with nature. Such results indicate the positive effects of the nature-creativity relationship. Given the hectic lives so many people lead today, Ms Leong's research recommends the adoption of a more outdoor-oriented lifestyle avoiding a ‘nature-deficit’ society divorced from nature.

Dr Stephen Hill
Associate Professor Ronald Fischer


Leong, L.Y.C., Fischer, R., & McClure, J. (2014). Are nature lovers more innovative? The relationship between connectedness with nature and cognitive styles. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 40, 57-63.

Leong, L.Y.C. (2013). The science of outdoor education: A meta-analysis of OE programmes. Paper presented at the 6th International Outdoor Education Research Conference, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Leong, L.Y.C. & Fischer, R. (2011). Is transformational leadership universal? A meta-analytical investigation of multifactor leadership questionnaire means across cultures. Journal of Leadership and Organisational Studies, 18(2), 164-174.

Leong, L.Y.C. (2010).  Outdoor education in Australia and New Zealand: A Singaporean perspective. Paper presented at the 4th Outdoor Education Conference, Singapore.

Leong, L.Y.C. & Kuang, Y.W. (2008).  From culture storm to culture norm: A cross-cultural perspective on outdoor education. Paper presented at the 3rd Outdoor Education Conference, Singapore.

Leong, L.Y.C.& Fischer, R. (2007).Would seventy-two virgins in heaven motivate a Chinaman? A meta-analysis of leadership across cultures. Presented at Asian Association of Social Psychology Conference, Sabah, Malaysia; Submitted as thesis for Honours PSYC 489, VUW, NZ, 2006.

Leong, L.Y.C. (2007).ExcelL Programme. Presented at Seminar for Ministry of Education, ‘Internationalising the Student Experience’, Centre for Applied Cross-Cultural Research, Wellington, NZ.

Leong, L.Y.C. (2007). Cross-Cultural Leadership. Presented at ‘Education in a Globalising World’, Seminar for World Youth SHIP, Centre for Applied Cross-cultural Research, Wellington, NZ.

Leong, L.Y.C. (2006). Leadership: Hone Heke. Presented at ‘Leadership Secret of Four New Zealand History Makers’, NZ Leadership Week, Centre for the Study of Leadership, Wellington, NZ. 

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