Exposure to nature may be particularly beneficial for the brain regions that support spatial working memory, a strong correlate of academic achievement.
To explore whether children living in greener neighbourhoods (wards) have better spatial working memory.
Drawn from the UK's Millennium Cohort Study, the sample was 4,758 11‐year‐olds living in urban areas in England.
We fitted two‐level regression models, with children nested in wards, before and after adjustment for confounders, including poverty, parental education, sports participation, neighbourhood deprivation, and neighbourhood history. Spatial working memory was measured using the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery Spatial Working Memory task. Greenspace was measured as the percentage of greenery in the child's ward.
Even after controlling for confounders, lower quantity of neighbourhood greenspace was related to poorer spatial working memory. Importantly, neighbourhood deprivation did not modify this relationship. Therefore, lower quantity of greenspace was related to poorer spatial working memory similarly in deprived and non‐deprived neighbourhoods.