Environmental Psychology Paper

Essay by sandraandcjUniversity, Bachelor'sA, October 2010

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Environmental Psychology

Sandra Lattin


Dr. Michael McKellip

University of Pheonix

Environmental Psychology Paper

Environmental psychology constitutes an area of study that encompasses the interaction between the independent variables of people and the environment. More specifically, environmental psychology is "…a behavioral science that investigates, with an eye toward enhancing, the interrelationships between the physical environment and human behavior" (Veitch & Arkkelin, 1995, p. 4). Almost a decade ago, Kurt Lewis hypothesized that a basic equation could help explain the interaction that occurs between the environment, people, and behavior. This equation, B=f (P,E = f {B = f [P,E]…}), essentially suggests that behavior is simply a function of the person and his or her environment (1995). For more perspective, it is necessary to examine the theoretical frameworks associated with environmental psychology, along with the importance of research within the field to convey a more comprehensive understanding.

Theoretical Approaches to Environmental Psychology

Environmental psychology uses many varying perspectives of human psychology to explain the interactions between environment, experience, and behavior. In addition, many of the theories employ principles borrowed from the fields of anthropology, sociology, urban, planning, psychology, architecture, physiology, and biology (Veitch & Arkkelin, 1995). The following two theoretical viewpoints, arousal and stimulus load theories, borrow from numerous disciplines to hypothesize about the relationship connecting arousal/stimuli and performance.

Arousal theories suggest an inverted U-shaped relationship exists between arousal and performance - as arousal increases, so does performance - but only until a certain point (Veitch & Arkkelin, 1995). If arousal reaches excessive levels (or levels too low), the opposite occurs and performance decreases. This relationship is consistent with other indications that suggest humans tend to seek out intermediate levels of stimulation (1995). In relation to environmental psychology, the arousal theory...