BBC Earth, the BBC’s global factual brand, has today published findings of an international study titled The Real Happiness Project showing nature programming’s direct impact on the mood and wellbeing of its viewers.The research, conducted with Professor Dacher Keltner, an expert in the science of emotion at the University of California, Berkeley, confirms that even short engagement with such shows leads to significant increases in positive emotions including awe, contentedness, joy and amusement. The study also found substantial decreases in emotions such as nervousness, anxiety, fear, stress and tiredness.

BBC Worldwide’s in-house research team collaborated with Professor Keltner, who oversees Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley on a two-phased study. A global quantitative research project of over 7500 nationally representative participants from the US, UK, Singapore, India, South Africa and Australia and a literature review of over 150 scientific studies that have explored the link between a connection with nature and human happiness and wellbeing. To further enrich the study, the research team worked with Crowd Emotion, a pioneering tech start-up that specialises in emotion recognition, using cutting edge facial mapping technology to understand how viewers respond to video footage.

The research was commissioned to mark the launch of one of the BBC’s most ambitious landmark nature series in ten years Planet Earth II, which recently premiered in the U.S. on BBC AMERICA to universal acclaim and strong viewership. The BBC natural history juggernaut has also taken Australia, South Africa and France by storm, having debuted in those territories during the last three weeks.