Psychological and environmental health research focused on the determinants of cognitive and mental health.


Research themes

In the Stenfors Lab we study different aspects of cognitive and mental health, and how environmental factors, behavior, stress, biological and physiological factors, including genetics, affect the development of such outcomes. Several projects focus on the role of exposure and access to green-blue environments and other environment exposures, for different health outcomes.

In this research we combine psychological and epidemiological methods with geographic information systems methods, employing primarily experimental study designs and epidemiological studies of longitudinal population-based cohorts.

Some of our research themes are:

  • How exposures to natural versus urban environment features influence cognitive state performance, affective state and other psychological processes.
  • How environment exposures in individuals’ living environments affect cognitive, mental and physical health outcomes.
  • How occupational factors, stress and resilience factors affect cognitive and mental health outcomes.
  • Biological mechanisms of cognitive function, resilience and decline.


Principal investigator

Cecilia Stenfors, PhD, Cognitive, Environmental & Biological Psychology
Tel: +46 (0)8-16 38 92



  • Swedish Research Council (VR)
  • Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (Formas)


PhD students

  • Yannick Klein


External collaborators

  • Marc Berman, Associate professor, Environmental neuroscience, University of Chicago, IL, USA.
  • James T. Enns, Department of Psychology, University of Bristish Columbia, BC, Canada.
  • Gregory Bratman, Assistant Professor, Environmental & Forest Sciences, University of Washington, WA, USA.
  • James Gross, Professor and Director of the Stanford Psychophysiology Laboratory, Stanford University, CA, USA.
  • Matilda van den Bosch, Associate Professor, Occupational & Environmental Health, University of British Columbia, Canada.
  • Claudine Berr, Professor, MD,  Epidemiology, INSERM and Montpellier University, France.
  • Mare Löhmus Sundström, The Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Sweden.
  • Jonas Persson, Professor, Cogntiive neuroscience, Örebro Universitet & Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
  • Walter Osika, Associate Professor, MD, Center for Social Sustainability, Karolinska Institute, Sweden.
  • Patrik Grahn, Professor, Landscape architecture, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden.
  • Lena Lid Falkman, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden.
  • Susanna Toivanen, Professor, Mälardalens Högskola.
  • Töres Theorell, Professor emeritus, Karolinska Institutet.
  • Linda Magnusson Hanson, Associate Professor, Epidemiology, Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, Sweden.
  • Hugo Westerlund, Professor, Epidemiology, Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University.




Meidenbauer, K. L., Stenfors, C., Bratman, G. N., Gross, J., & Berman, M. (2019, December 16). The Affective Benefits of Nature Exposure: What’s Nature Got to Do with It? Under review, see preprint at PsyArXiv. doi: 10.31234/

Stenfors, C.U.D., Van Hedger, S. C., Schertz, K. E., Meyer, F., Smith, K. E., Norman, G., Bourrier, S. C., Enns, J. T., Kardan, O., Jonides, J., & Berman, M. G. (2019). Positive effects of nature on cognitive performance across multiple experiments: Test order but not affect modulates the cognitive effects. Frontiers in Psychology, 10:1413. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01413

Meidenbauer, K.L., Stenfors, C.U.D., Young, J., Layden, E.A., Schertz, K.E., Kardan, O., Decety, J., & Berman, M.G., (2019). The gradual development of the preference for natural environments. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 65, 101328. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2019.101328

Meidenbauer, K.L., Stenfors, C.U.D., Ingram, M., & Berman, M. (2019). A tablet-based task for assessing environmental preferences in children and adults. Methods X, 6, 1901-1906. 10.1016/j.mex.2019.08.002

Persson, J., & Stenfors, C. (2018). Superior cognitive goal maintenance in carriers of genetic markers linked to reduced striatal D2 receptor density (C957T and DRD2/ANKK1-TaqIA). PLoS ONE, 13(8), e0201837. PMID: 30125286.

Bäcklander, G., Rosengren, C., Falkman, L.L., Stenfors, C., Seddigh, A., Osika, W., & Stenström, E. (2018). Navigating the Activity Based Working Environment–Relationships of Self-Leadership, Autonomy and Information Richness with Cognitive Stress and Performance. Scandinavian Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 3(1).

Horwitz, E. B., Stenfors, C., & Osika, W. (2018). Writer's Block Revisited: A Micro-Phenomenological Case Study on the Blocking Influence of an Internalized Voice. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 25(3-4), 9-28.

Stenfors, C., Jonsdottir, I., Magnusson Hanson, L.L., & Theorell, T. (2017). Associations between systemic pro-inflammatory markers, cognitive function and cognitive complaints in a population-based sample of working adults. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 96, 49-59. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2017.03.010. PMID: 28545793.

Stenfors, C., Theorell, T., Magnusson Hanson, L., & Osika, W. (2016). Executive Cognitive Functioning & Cardiovascular Autonomic Regulation in a Population-Based sample of Working Adults. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1536. PMID: 27761124.

Seddigh, A., Stenfors, C., Berntson, E., Bååth, R., Sikström, S., & Westerlund, H. (2015). The association between office design and performance on demanding cognitive tasks, Journal of Environmental Psychology.

Stenfors, C., Marklund, P., Hanson, L. L. M., Theorell, T., & Nilsson, L.-G. (2014). Are subjective cognitive complaints related to memory functioning in the working population? BMC Psychology, 2:3.

Stenfors, C., Marklund, P., Magnusson Hanson, L. L., Theorell, T., & Nilsson, L.-G. (2013). Subjective Cognitive Complaints and the Role of Executive Cognitive Functioning in the Working Population: A Case-Control Study. PLoS ONE, 8(12): e83351. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083351. PMID: 24386185.

Stenfors, C., Hanson, L. L. M., Theorell, T., Oxenstierna, G., & Nilsson, L.-G. (2013). Psychosocial Working Conditions and Cognitive Complaints among Swedish Employees. PLoS ONE, 8(4). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060637. PMID: 23560101.

Bojner Horwitz, E., Stenfors, C., & Osika, W. (2013). Contemplative inquiry in movement. Managing writer's block in academic writing. International journal of transpersonal psychology.

Oxenstierna, G., Magnusson Hanson, L. L., Widmark, M., Finnholm, K., Stenfors, C., Elofsson, S., & Theorell, T. (2011). Conflicts at Work- The Relationship with Workplace Factors, Work Characteristics and Self-rated Health. Industrial Health, 49(4), 501-510.


Stenfors, C., Bojner Horwitz, E., Theorell, T., & Osika, W. (2018). Similarities, disparities, and synergies with other complex interventions. In M. van den Bosch & W. Bird (Eds.), Oxford Textbook of Nature and Public Health - The Role of Nature in Improving the Health of a Population. Oxford University Press.

Stenfors, C. (2018). Naturliga vägar till mänsklig, social och ekologisk hållbarhet. Socialmedicinsk tidskrift, 95(2), 141-149.

Stenfors, C. (2014). Hjärnhälsa- om stress och stärkande aktiviteter. In E. Bojner Horwitz (Red.), Kulturhälsoboxen. Gothia förlag.

Stenfors, C. (2013). Subjective cognitive complaints in the working population- the influence of cognitive functioning and working conditions. Doctoral thesis in Psychology, Stockholm University.