Raymond De Young
Environmental psychology is a field of study that examines the inter-
relationship between environments and human affect, cognition, and
behavior (Bechtel & Churchman, 2002; Gifford, 2007; Stnkols & Altman,
1987). The field has always been concerned with both built and natural
environments with early research emphasizing the former (Stokols, 1995;
Sundstrom, Bell, Busby, & Aasmus, 1996). However, as environmental sus-
tainability issues became of greater concern to society in general, and the
social sciences in particular, the field increased its focus on how humans
affect, and are affected by, natural environments. The goals of this chapter
arc to introduce environmental p ~ y c h o l o g y , explain how it emerged from
the study of human-environment interactions and note how it has rede-
fined what we mean by the terms nature and environme11t. Special note is
made of humans as information-processing creatures and the implications
this has for encouraging reasonable behavior under trying environmental
circumstances. Finally, two pragmatic approaches to bringing out the best
in people are presented.
In an effort to promote durable living on a finite planet, environmen-
tal psychology develops, and e mp
strategies regardless of where the foundational science resides. Thus, the
field considers as not useful the sometimes artificial distinction among the
fields of cognitive, evolutionary, and social psychology. In so doing, envi-
ronmental psychology incorponltcs the work of individuals who might not
otherwise initially be identified with the field (consider, for instance, Cone
& Hayes, 1980; c;eller, Winett, & Everett, 1982; Katzcv & Johnson, 1987).
The same integrative approach applies to the level of analysis ~ n d scale
of intervention. The field explores individual and collective level behavior
and seeks i n t e
i r i c ; ~ l l y validates, practical interyention
r v ~ n t i o n s that work at all of these scales. In fact, this is one
De Young, R. (2013). Environmental psychology overview.
In Ann H. Huffman & Stephanie Klein (Eds.) Green
Organizations: Driving Change with IO Psychology.
(Pp. 17-33) New York: Routledge.
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