ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (1): 111-120.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00111

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Exposure to Air pollution impairs cognitive function and psychological well-being

LV Xiaokang; WANG Cong   

  1. (Department of Social Psychology, Nankai University, Tianjin, 300350)
  • Received:2016-05-06 Online:2017-01-15 Published:2017-01-15
  • Contact: WANG Cong, E-mail:


Exposure to air pollution may impair nervous system, brain function and cognitive function, particularly for susceptible groups like children, elderly adults and patients with chronic diseases. It may also reduce subjective well-being, cause anxiety and depression, and even increase suicide risks. The physiological mechanisms of different pollutants’ influences on cognition and psychological well-being are different. Apart from physiological mechanisms, air pollution can also generate psychological impacts on individuals or groups indirectly through media representation, and the severity of these impacts is associated with social vulnerability and resilience. Future studies should explore the pathogenesis of nervous system impairment and cognitive impairment caused by air pollution exposure, explore the influence of air pollution on the psychological well-being of Chinese citizens and its underlying inequality among different social groups, and then develop effective psychological intervention measures.

Key words: air pollution, cognitive impairment, environmental psychology, psychological well-being, social vulnerability