When I plug my laptop into my external monitor, I rarely use the fullscreen experience. On a 1920x1080 resolution, I have the luxury of using unmaximized windows, set against the backdrop of my carefully selected wallpaper. I've seen arguments against this: if you're not using fullscreen, what's the point? Aren't you just opening yourself up to distraction?
To be honest, I've never been able to justify it. I simply enjoyed "framing" my work window with a pleasant scene. After reading Sue Thomas's piece in Aeon Magazine, though, I may finally be able to explain my preference. Thomas cites a number of studies in which the impact of nature on stress is studied. Beginning with a dental office full of patients awaiting surgery, Thomas explains the precise effect nature has on us. In the dental office, the presence of a simple aquarium actually lowered the patients' heart rate and blood pressure.
Our attempts to place ourselves in this new world nourished the growth of a new spur, a hybrid through which nature and technology become symbionts, rather than opponents.
Bottom line: nature soothes us. I know, I know: news flash! Still, scientific justification for a previously irrational behavior is satisfying. To celebrate, I've rounded up 10 of my favorite nature-centric desktop wallpapers. Click on the captions below the images to be taken to the download page. Enjoy.