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Encyclopedia > Environmental psychology

Environmental psychology is an interdisciplinary field focused on the interplay between humans and their surroundings.

Contents

Scope

Although "environmental psychology" is arguably the best-knowne and more comprehensive description of the field, it is also known as environmental social sciences, architectural psychology, socio-architecture, ecological psychology, ecopsychology, behavioral geography, environment-behavior studies, person-environment studies, environmental sociology, social ecology, and environmental design research; each advanced by different researchers, sometimes used interchangeably, sometimes with recognized gaps and overlaps between the terms. This field draws on work in a number of disciplines including anthropology, geography, ekistics, sociology, psychology, history, political science, engineering, planning, architecture, urban design and, of course, aesthetics. Environmental psychology is an interdisciplinary field focused on the interplay between humans and their surroundings. ... Socio-architecture is a phrase coined by psychologist Humphry Osmond and Canadian architect Kyo Izumi as part of their research for the best architectural form for Osmonds Weyburn, Saskatchewan mental hospital in 1951. ... Ecological psychology (EP) is term claimed by a number of schools of psychology. ... Ecopsychology connects psychology and ecology in a new scientific paradigm. ... Behavioral geography is an approach to Human Geography that examines human behavior using a disaggregate approach. ... Anthropology (from Greek: ἀνθρωπος, anthropos, human being; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is the study of humanity. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... Sociology (from Latin: socius, companion; and the suffix -ology, the study of, from Greek λόγος, lógos, knowledge) is an academic and applied discipline that studies society and human social interaction. ... Psychology (from Greek: ψυχή, psukhÄ“, spirit, soul; λόγος, logos, knowledge) is both an academic and applied discipline involving the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. ... History studies time in human terms. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political Science is the field concerning the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behaviour. ... Engineering is the applied science of acquiring and applying knowledge to design, analysis, and/or construction of works for practical purposes. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about building architecture. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Parthenons facade showing an interpretation of golden rectangles in its proportions. ...


The varied names for the field accurately reflect an ongoing debate about its proper scope, for example, whether or not it includes study of human interaction with the natural environment. "Environmental design" is generally understood to describe design activities focused on the natural environment and sustainability as well as concern with the planned environment which humans build - the "artificial" or designed physical environment - and its ability to meet community needs. Only a small portion of the built environment is attributable to architects, so a focus on "architectural psychology" is seen as too narrow. Environmental design is the process of addressing environmental parameters when devising plans, programs, policies, buildings, or products. ... The Earth Day flag includes a NASA photo. ... The phrase built environment refers to the manmade surroundings that provide the setting for human activity, ranging from the large-scale civic surroundings to the personal places. ...


Challenges

Since the late 1990s, the field has seen significant research findings and a fair surge of interest in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but has challenges of nomenclature, obtaining objective and repeatable results, scope, and the fact that some research rests on underlying assumptions about human perception, which is not fully understood.


In the words of Guido Francescato, speaking in 2000, environmental psychology encompasses a "somewhat bewildering array of disparate methodologies, conceptual orientations, and interpretations... making it difficult to delineate, with any degree of precision, just what the field is all about and what might it contribute to the construction of society and the unfolding of history."


Behavior settings

The first significant findings in environmental psychology can be traced back to researcher Roger Barker, who founded his research station in the tiny Kansas town of Oskaloosa (renamed "Midwest" for publication) in 1947, and ran it for several decades. Roger Garlock Barker (1903, Macksburg, Iowa - 1990) was a social scientist, a founder of environmental psychology and a leading figure in the field for decades, perhaps best known for his development of the concept of behavior settings. ...


From detailed field observations he developed the theory that social settings influence behavior. In a store, people assume their roles as customers; in school and church, proper behavior somehow already resides coded in the place. Barker spent his career expanding on what he called ecological psychology, identifying these behavior settings, and publishing accounts like "One Boy's Day" (1951). Some of the minute-by-minute observations of Kansan children from morning to night, jotted down by young and maternal graduate students, may be the most intimate and poignant documents in social science. The "behavior setting" remains a valid principle which receives serious attention. Ecological psychology (EP) is term claimed by a number of schools of psychology. ...


Barker argued that the psychologist should use T-Methods (psychologist as 'transducer': i.e. methods which study man in his 'natural environment') rather than O-Methods (psychologist as "operator" i.e. experimental methods). In other words, he preferred field work and direct observation.


Proxemics

In the mid 1950s anthropologist E. T. Hall wrote "The Hidden Dimension" which developed and popularized the concepts of personal space and his more general name for this field, proxemics. He defined proxemics as, ". . . the study of how man unconsciously structures microspace - the distance between men in the conduct of daily transactions, the organization of space in his houses and buildings, and ultimately the layout of his towns." See Anthropology. ... Edward T. Hall (born May 16, 1914, Webster Groves, Missouri) is a respected anthropologist and cross-cultural researcher. ... Personal space, an updated form of Edward T. Halls 1966 proxemics, is the region surrounding each person, or that area which a person considers his domain or territory. ... Bus shelter with seats with armrests, designed to deter proximity, as well as sleeping. ...


Hall defined and measured four interpersonal "zones":

  • intimate (0 to 18 inches)
  • personal (18 inches to 4 feet)
  • social (4 feet to 12 feet)
  • public (12 feet and beyond)

In "The Hidden Dimension" he famously observed that the precise distance we feel 'comfortable' with other people being near us is culturally determined: Saudis, Norwegians, Milanese and Japanese will have differing notions of 'close'. In one of his best known empirical studies, Hall carried out an analysis of employee reactions to Eero Saarinen's last work, the John Deere World Headquarters Building. Saarinens Gateway Arch frames The Old Courthouse, which sits at the heart of the city of Saint Louis, near the rivers edge. ...


University of Strathclyde

Another strain of environmental psychology developed out of ergonomics in the 1960s. The beginning of this movement can be traced back to David Canter's work and the founding of the "Performance Research Unit" at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1966, which expanded traditional ergonomics to study broader issues relating to the environment and the extent to which human beings were "situated" within it (cf situated cognition). Ergonomics (or human factors) is the application of scientific information concerning humans to the design of objects, systems and environment for human use (definition adopted by the International Ergonomics Association in 2007). ... David Canter is a psychologist who pioneered offender profiling in Britain. ... The University of Strathclyde (Scottish Gaelic: ) is a university in Glasgow, Scotland. ... For other uses, see Glasgow (disambiguation). ... This article is about the country. ... Year 1966 (MCMLXVI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the 1966 Gregorian calendar. ... Situated cognition is a new movement in cognitive psychology which derives from pragmatism, Gibsonian ecological psychology, ethnomethodology, the theories of Vygotsky and the writings of Heidegger. ...


Canter led the field in the UK for years and was the editor of the Journal of Environmental Psychology for over 20 years, but has recently turned his attention to criminology. The Journal of Environmental Psychology has been published since 1980. ...


Applications

Impact on the Built Environment

Ultimately, environmental psychology is oriented towards influencing the work of design professionals (architects, engineers, interior designers, urban planners, etc.) and thereby improving the human environment.


On a civic scale, efforts towards improving pedestrian landscapes have paid off to some extent, involving figures like Jane Jacobs and Copenhagen's Jan Gehl. One prime figure here is the late writer and researcher William H. Whyte and his still-refreshing and perceptive "City", based on his accumulated observations of skilled Manhattan pedestrians, steps, and patterns of use in urban plazas. Jane Jacobs Jane Jacobs, OC, O.Ont (May 4, 1916 – April 25, 2006) was an American-born Canadian urbanist, writer and activist. ... For other uses, see Copenhagen (disambiguation). ... Jan Gehl (born 1936) is a Danish architect and urban design consultant based in Copenhagen and whose career has focused on improving the quality of pedestrian urban life. ... William Hollingsworth Holly Whyte (1917- January 12, 1999) was an American sociologist, journalist, and peoplewatcher. ...


No equivalent organized knowledge of environmental psychology has developed out of architecture. Most prominent American architects, led until recently by Philip Johnson who was very strong on this point, view their job as an art form. They see little or no responsibility for the social or functional impact of their designs, which was highlighted with failure of public high-rise housing like Pruitt Igoe. 1933 Portrait of Philip Johnson by Carl Van Vechten Philip Cortelyou Johnson (July 8, 1906 – January 25, 2005) was an influential American architect. ... A local authority tower block in Cwmbrân, South Wales Public housing or project homes are forms of housing tenure in which the property is owned by a government authority, which may be central or local. ... The Pruitt-Igoe complex in the U.S. city of St. ...


Environmental psychology has conquered one whole architectural genre, although it's a bitter victory: retail stores, and any other commercial venue where the power to manipulate the mood and behavior of customers, places like stadiums, casinos, malls, and now airports. From Philip Kotler's landmark paper on Atmospherics and Alan Hirsch's "Effects of Ambient Odors on Slot-Machine Usage in a Las Vegas Casino", through the creation and management of the Gruen transfer, retail relies heavily on psychology, original research, focus groups, and direct observation. One of William Whyte's students, Paco Underhill, makes a living as a "shopping anthropologist". Most of this most-advanced research remains a trade secret and proprietary. Philip Kotler (born 27 May 1931 in Chicago) is the S.C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. ... In shopping mall design, the Gruen transfer refers to the moment when consumers respond to scripted disorientation cues in the environment. ...


Density and Crowding

As environmental psychologists have theorized that density and crowding can have an adverse effect on mood and even cause stress-related illness. Accordingly, environmental and architectural designs could be adapted to minimse the effects of crowding in situations when crowding cannot be avoided. Factors that reduce feelings of crowding within buildings include:

  • Windows, particularly openable ones, and ones that provide a view as well as light
  • High ceilings
  • Doors to divide spaces (Baum and Davies) and provide acccess control
  • Room shape: square rooms feel less crowded than rectangular ones (Dresor)
  • Using partitions to create smaller, personalised spaces within an open plan office or larger work space.
  • Providing increases in cognitive control over aspects of the internal environment, such as ventilation, light, privacy, etc.
  • Conducting a cognitive appraisal of an environment and feelings of crowding in different settings. For example, one might be comfortable with crowding at a concert but not in school corridors.
  • Creating a defensible space (Calhoun)

Defensible space is a concept first proposed by the architect Oscar Newman. ... Calhoun may refer to: This is a derivative name for people of Colquhoun (Scottish) origin in North America Floride Calhoun, Second Lady of the United States John C. Calhoun, United States politician and 7th Vice President Jim Calhoun, head coach of the University of Connecticut mens basketball team Will...

Noise

Noise increases environmental stress. Although it has been found that control and predictability are the greatest factors in stressful effects of noise; context, pitch, source and habituation are also important variables [1].


Personal Space and Territory

Having an area of personal territory in a public space e.g. at the office is a key feature of many architectural designs. Having such a 'defensible space' (term coined by Calhoun during his experiment on rats) can reduce the negative effects of crowding in urban environments. Creation of personal space is achieved by placing barriers and personalising the space, for example using pictures of one's family. This increases cognitive control as one sees oneself as having control over the entrants to the personal space and therefore able to control the level of density and crowding in the space. This article belongs in one or more categories. ...


Environmental Cognition

Other contributors

Other significant researchers and writers in this field include:

  • Irwin Altman
  • Jay Appleton, British geographer who proposed 'habitat theory' and advanced the notion of 'prospect and refuge'
  • David Chapin
  • Anita Blanchard, who applied behavior setting theory to "Virtual Behavior Settings", expanding Wicker's work into computer-mediated environments.
  • Alain de Botton
  • Karen Franck
  • Robert Gifford
  • J.J. Gibson, best known for coining the word affordance, a description of what the environment offers the animal in terms of action
  • Paul Gump, who continued Barker's work in Oskaloosa and did the seminal "Boy's Camp" and "Big School, Small School" studies (with Barker)
  • Roger Hart
  • Daniel Henry, who applied classic theories of behavior settings to online built environments, and coined the term "Computer-Mediated Behavior Settings".
  • Bill Hillier and space syntax
  • C. Ray Jeffery coined the phrase Crime Prevention Through Urban Design or CPTED
  • Rachel Kaplan
  • Stephen Kaplan
  • Cindi Katz
  • Setha Low
  • Kevin A. Lynch and his research into the formation of mental maps
  • Harold Proshansky
  • Amos Rapoport
  • Leanne Rivlin
  • Edward Sadalla
  • Susan Saegert, director of the Center for Human Environments at the City University of New York
  • Phil Schoggen, who worked with Barker and Wright in Oskaloosa and published the seminal book "Behavior Settings" which summarizes and expands the theory.
  • Myrtle Scott, who applied behavior setting theory to special education and industrial settings, and who taught eco-environmental psychology at Indiana University.
  • Roger Ulrich
  • Alan Wicker, who expanded behavior setting theories to include other areas of study, including qualitative research, and social psychology.
  • Gary Winkel

This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Alain de Botton, (born 20 December 1969 in Zurich, Switzerland) is a writer. ... Robert Gifford is a Psychology Professor at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. ... J.J. Gibson (1904-1979) was an American psychologist, considered one of the most important 20th century psychologists in the field of visual perception. ... An Affordance is a possible action that an object or an environment invites, induces or tempts an individual to perform. ... Roger A. Hart is a Professor in the Environmental Psychology Ph. ... Daniel Maynadier Henry (February 19, 1823 – August 31, 1899) was an American politician. ... The term space syntax encompasses a set of theories and techniques for the analysis of spatial configurations. ... Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) is a multi-disciplinary approach to deterring criminal behavior. ... Kevin Andrew Lynch (1918 Chicago, Illinois - 1984 Marthas Vineyard, Massachusetts), American urban planner and author. ... Amos Rapoport is the author of the book House, Form & Culture. ... Susan Saegert is professor of environmental psychology and director of the Center for Human Environments at the City University of New York Graduate Center. ... The City University of New York (CUNY; acronym: IPA pronunciation: ), is the public university system of New York City. ... Alan Wicker, birthplace ... Gary Winkel is a Professor of Environmental Psychology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York He received his Ph. ...

See also

The Parthenons facade showing an interpretation of golden rectangles in its proportions. ... Behavioural sciences (or Behavioral science) is a term that encompasses all the disciplines that explore the activities of and interactions among organisms in the natural world. ... Ecopsychology connects psychology and ecology in a new scientific paradigm. ... Environmental design is the process of addressing environmental parameters when devising plans, programs, policies, buildings, or products. ... Environmental design and planning is the moniker used by several Ph. ... Environmental metaphysics is the metaphysical exploration of environments and their impact on people and animals. ... This article includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... Ergonomics (or human factors) is the application of scientific information concerning humans to the design of objects, systems and environment for human use (definition adopted by the International Ergonomics Association in 2007). ... Fēng Shuǐ (風水 – literally, wind and water pronounced fung shuway), which may be more than 3000 years old, is the ancient practice of placement to achieve harmony with the environment. ... Human factors is an umbrella term for several areas of research that include human performance, technology, design, and human-computer interaction. ... This article is about the local crime prevention organization. ... Psychology (from Greek: ψυχή, psukhÄ“, spirit, soul; λόγος, logos, knowledge) is both an academic and applied discipline involving the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. ... The social sciences are a group of academic disciplines that study human aspects of the world. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about building architecture. ...

References

  • Bell P., Greene T., Fisher, J., & Baum, A. (1996). Environmental Psychology. Ft Worth: Harcourt Brace.
  • Ittelson, W. H., Proshansky, H., Rivlin, L., & Winkel, G. (1974). An Introduction to Environmental Psychology. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Translated into German and Japanese.
  • Stokols, D. and I. Altman [Eds.] (1987). Handbook of Environmental Psychology. New York: Wiley.
  • Fritsch, Albert J. (2006) Eco-spirituality Through The Seasons, January 2006 - present. http://www.earthhealing.info/ecospirit.html
    1. ^ Isling (1990)

External links


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