What is Environmental Psychology

Essay by SophieMUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, January 2013

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What is Environmental Psychology?

Psychology is a broad and ever-growing field that involves the study of the human mind and behavior. Within the field of psychology, there are various different branches, or sub-fields, one of which is environmental psychology. This branch of psychology is "an interdisciplinary and disparate field of study, enrolling researchers from psychology, geography, anthropology, sociology, planning and design, environmental psychology examines perceptual, cognitive and embodied relationships between humans and the environment, both natural and built" ("Environmental psychology," 2009). One of the main goals of the field of environmental psychology is to solve complex environmental problems for the benefit of individual well-being within society.

Environmental psychology is a relatively new branch of psychology that focuses on the study of the interrelationship between the environment and human behavior. Within this field, the term environment is broadly defined to include the natural, or physical environments, the social environments, built environments, learning environments, and informational environments (De Young, 1999).

Unlike other branches of psychology, such as cultural psychology, environmental psychology does not place emphasis on how the interactions among people influence behavior and personality; rather this disclipline focuses on studying the organisms' adaptations to their environments. In environmental psychology, "organisms are studied as part of the ecosytem, stressing the balance and interdependance of organisms and the environment" (G., 2001). According to (G., 2001), the field of environmental psychology has increased in importance since its conception in the 1960s due to the increased concern over problems negatively impacting the physical environment, such as pollution problems, population expansion, depletion of natural resources, and global warming.

There are several theoretical approaches to the discipline of environmental psychology; one of these theoretical approaches is evolutionary psychology. This theoretical approach proposes that the human mind and behavior evolves as a way to enhance the species'...