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Relations Between Psychology and Geography

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Abstract

The special issue of Environment and Behavior, "Relations Between Environmental Psychology and Allied Fields," edited by Seymour Wapner (1995) contained seven articles exploring the links between environmental psychology and other subfields of psychology. The articles examined how environmental psychology with its emphasis on context "may serve to integrate psychology as a whole, and to bridge the gap between the interests of professionally orientated and academic psychologists" (Wapner 1995, p. 5). This article expands on this theme by exploring and summarizing the links between psychology and the allied field of human geography. It is suggested that an integrative framework needs to be adopted to capture the ways that these two disciplines, (and others such as planning and anthropology), have become complementary, and by doing so have provided a broader theoretical conceptualization of environment and behavior interactions.
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... Positivists sought the derivation of hypotheses from theory and the (dis)confirmation of these hypotheses using statistical analysis and mathematical modeling. This epistemological shift was generally well received within geography but also criticized for simplifying human spatial behavior as rational and economical (Argent and Walmsley 2009;Golledge 2008;Kitchin et al. 1997). Indeed, behavioral geography (i.e. ...
... Behavioralism is a branch of human geography that investigates the activity of humans in space (Golledge 2008). Research in this area focuses on the interaction between individuals' perceptual and cognitive processes and the location and distribution of phenomena (Argent and Walmsley 2009;Gibson 1966;Golledge 2008;Kitchin et al. 1997). For behavioralists, the concept of space became not only physical or subjective, but also psychological and objective. ...
Chapter
Cognitive neuroscience can provide novel and interesting techniques for investigating spatial and geographic thinking. However, the incorporation of neuroscientific methods still lacks the theoretical motivation necessary for the progression of geography as a discipline. Rather than reflecting a shortcoming of neuroscience, this weakness has developed from previous attempts to establish a positivist approach to behavioral geography. In this chapter, we will discuss the challenges of establishing a positivist approach in behavioral geography and the current drive to incorporate neuroscientific evidence. Towards this end, we review research in geography and neuroscience. Here, we focus specifically on navigation and large-scale spatial thinking. We argue that research at the intersection of geography and neuroscience would benefit from an explanatory, theory-driven approach rather than a descriptive, exploratory approach. Future collaborations will require additional training for geographers and neuroscientists and the involvement of both disciplines during the early stages of a research program.
... We say back into conversation because it is important to recall earlier work at the nexus of cognitive psychology and geography on environmental perception and environmental behaviour (including navigational wayfinding) dating back many decades (e.g. Downs & Stea, 1977; and see Kitchin et al., 1997 for a review). Seeking to revive and advance that interdisciplinary field in the mid-1990s, Kitchin (1996) not only summarized established/accumulated critiques of behavioural geographers -for their "dehumanizing" schemata that humanistic geographers considered gave insufficient room to human agency, and largely ignored the social and cultural contexts in which individual spatial decision-makers operated (Ley, 1981) -but also showed how geographers had sought to respond to such limitations through "transactional" approaches to peopleenvironment relations. ...
Article
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Recent work in several fields of psychology has advanced understanding of how humans imaginatively construct, simulate and (pre-)feel the future. These advances have not yet been substantively engaged in social and cultural geography. In this paper, we identify, review and begin to draw together scholarship in human geography and several subfields of psychology on the ways in which people imagine and navigate towards the future. The most influential existing work on the future in geography has concerned powerful institutional and discursive depictions of threatening times-to-come. In contrast, psychological and neuroscientific work on cognitive processes involved in prospection extends possibilities for a human geographical approach to the future considering how people relate to discursive imaginaries and spatial environments. Reinvigoration of the human geography-psychology nexus can further critical understanding of the spatialities through which futures are imaginatively formed and felt by individuals, and are thereby brought into the realm of political and social possibility.
... At the end of the last century, collaborations with environmental psychologists (Kitchin et al., 1997) and the shift of paradigm in cognitive science have led geographers to partly abandon the study of the what and where to dedicate more attention to the how and why (Golledge, 2002). This change of perspective have prompted a more explicit study of cognitive processes and internal representations of space. ...
Article
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... resonances from within psychological geographies include Tuan's discussions on the embodied nature of cultural experience (1971) and Walmsley and Lewis's contribution (1984) on how environments are inhabited and the influence of this on behaviour. Kitchin et al. (1997) were more explicit in their approach to integrate psychology into human geography through outlining the complementary tenets within both fields -such as the environment-behaviour interaction -and positing potential research fields, such as the interactions between environmental, societal and cultural influences on cognition and human agency. ...
Article
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Beachgoing experiences are highly desirable among international tourists visiting Australia. Beach use has been popularised in the contemporary Australian imaginary influencing how locals behave at the beach and setting an example to visitors. Many of the behaviours that Australian beach users’ display can be classed as risky. How and why tourists enact certain risky behaviours in their attempts to comply with beach going norms in Australia is not well known. The imagined beachgoing psyche of tourists describes a disconnection between pre-conceptions about risk at the beach and the reality of actual risks and hazards. The pursuit of thrill and risk while on holiday work to reconcile tourist attitudes about their often safety-averse behaviours, helping to explain why beach safety is often ignored, accidentally and purposefully. The influence of other social phenomena, such as the amplification of risk, interactive risk and group norms, contribute to tourists’ beach behaviours in Australia. Beachgoer questionnaires and interview testimonies triangulated results using a mixed-method-research approach that identifies the mechanisms that lead to an incoherence between understandings of danger and safe behaviours, which were specific to the socio-spatial context of the Australian beach space. There is much ambiguity in the nature of the Australian beach holiday, where the tourist beachgoer can choose between behaviours of escape (to relax) and excite (to take risks). This can lead to the conflation of these contrasting, yet spatially connected, pursuits.
... Jack [26] investigates the significance of children's place attachments for the development of their identity, security and sense of belonging. Golledge and co-workers [27][28][29] worked for many years to bridge the two disciplines but with limited success-beyond their own scholarly work. Although a "spatial turn" has been diagnosed for other social sciences like sociology and the humanities [30], places are predominantly seen as the sites of social relations [24] by acting as open articulations of connections [31]. ...
Article
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Around the globe, Geographic Information Systems (GISs) are well established in the daily workflow of authorities, businesses and non-profit organisations. GIS can effectively handle spatial entities and offer sophisticated analysis and modelling functions to deal with space. Only a small fraction of the literature in Geographic Information Science—or GIScience in short—has advanced the development of place, addressing entities with an ambiguous boundary and relying more on the human or social attributes of a location rather than on crisp geographic boundaries. While the GIScience developments support the establishment of the digital humanities, GISs were never designed to handle subjective or vague data. We, an international group of authors, juxtapose place and space in English language and in several other languages and discuss potential consequences for Geoinformatics and GIScience. In particular, we address the question of whether linguistic and cultural settings play a role in the perception of place. We report on some facts revealed by this multi-language and multi-cultural dialogue, and what particular aspects of place we were able to discern regarding the few languages addressed.
... Perceptions of risks have been analyzed as correlates of personal values, worldviews, and other culturally rooted cognitive processes at the individual level, but geographically based factors and, specifically, social vulnerability have received less attention, perhaps due to a lack of data availability at various spatial and geographic units and/or because relevant social-psychological theories of environmental attitudes and risk perceptions tend to focus on individuals rather than geographic areas as their units of analysis. Yet, individuallevel values are often embedded in geographically specific contexts and connected to locally relevant phenomena, such as cultural milieu, history, economic vibrancy, and patterns of integration or segregation, among other factors (Guagnano and Markee 1995;Kitchin et al. 1997;Lorenzoni and Pidgeon 2006;Shwom et al. 2008;Hamilton and Keim 2009;Hamilton et al. 2010;Safford et al. 2012;Sampson 2012;Chuang et al. 2013;Hamilton and Safford 2015). ...
Article
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... It is an essentially interdisciplinary inquiry, as it utilizes the concept of 'human values', a key term in social psychology, to address a central question in urban geography and sociology. The analysis thus builds on a disciplinary interface between psychology and geography that appeared briefly in the geographic literature some twenty years ago (Kitchin, 1997). ...
Thesis
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This thesis investigates the cross-sectional association between different quantifiable societal dimensions that indicate spatially varying levels of wellbeing and development. The analysis is grounded in human geography but applies an explicitly interdisciplinary focus, combining theories and measures from economic geography, cultural studies, spatial economics, sociology and social psychology. In the empirical analyses, geographically referenced European Social Survey (ESS) data containing measures of subjective wellbeing (SWB) and human values were analysed together with objective indicators of economic performance on national and subnational scales. This dissertation suggests that multivariate models of SWB data can focus on three different areas of geographical heterogeneity. First, intercept heterogeneity, which is built on a constructivist and container-based view of geography, as it focuses on spatially varying levels (intercepts) of SWB aggregated from survey data. Second, slope heterogeneity, which suggests that different geographical contexts affect the relationship between individual level SWB and its predictors. Third, scale heterogeneity, which involves the spatial rescaling of the analysis while interpreting the relief map of SWB. This thesis studied these areas in four different empirical analyses. First, Paper I demonstrated that levels of ‘social trust’ and ‘social contact and support’, which indicate social wellbeing, and a sense of ‘competence and meaning’, which denotes personal wellbeing, are significant positive correlates with regional GDP after controlling for regional economic indicators and the spatial effects embedded in the data. Second, Paper II utilized the Human Values Scale in the ESS and studied the association between certain values and the level of economic performance. The paper demonstrated that the aggregate level of the value ‘self-direction’, which indicates independent thought, action and creativity, is a strong predictor of regional GDP. Paper II also addressed the question of rescaling and used welfare regimes as a relevant socio-historic framework of analysis. Paper III focused on the contextual effects of living in ‘Metropolitan Finland’. The results showed that the negative effect on life satisfaction of residing in the capital region of Finland is first compositional, as the population in ‘Metropolitan Finland’ is composed of individuals who appreciate the values of ‘power’ and ‘achievement’, which are themselves associated with lower life satisfaction. However, it is also contextual, as residing in the capital region moderates the positive wellbeing effect of socially focused values such as ‘benevolence’ and ‘conformity’. Finally, Paper IV added vertical detail to the intercept heterogeneity approach and asked whether changes in macroeconomic conditions, in the context of Ireland and its recent economic recession, are experienced differently in different socio-economic categories, i.e. classes. The results show that the effects of the economic crisis were not experienced equally within the population; rather, the lower strata (the lowest income quartile, manual workers and those with the lowest levels of education) were the most affected. Both the framework and results of this thesis offer new interdisciplinary insights into the geographies of subjective wellbeing and human values, a disciplinary interface that has largely remained unexplored. The results of this thesis are also relevant for regional policy-making that addresses spatial justice, territorial inequalities and uneven development. Furthermore, the findings concerning the negative wellbeing effect of metropolitan context merit attention in policies on ‘urban growth’, as they question the underlying values of such policies and their effectiveness for promoting wellbeing. Finally, the finding that macroeconomic changes have different wellbeing effects in different socio-economic layers resonates with the concept of ‘inclusive growth’, which involves promoting the distribution of opportunities and wellbeing to all segments of the population.
... Gesellschaft-based relationships, were rooted in "rational agreement by mutual consent" (WEBER, 1921 10. The role of psychological traits only made a brief appearance in the geographic literature some thirty years ago (KITCHIN, 1997). The more recent focus on the geographic dimensions of psychological traits has come not from the geographers but from psychologists (RENTFROW, 2014). ...
Article
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Living in a country's largest metropolitan centre has a negative effect on subjective wellbeing. Although documented in many developed economies the reasons for this particular geography of wellbeing are still poorly understood. Meanwhile a separate body of research has shown that the holding of extrinsic or personally focused values is also associated with lower levels of subjective wellbeing. Our paper demonstrates the link between the two. We draw on the European Social Survey 2012 to show how metropolitan residents in Finland are more likely to hold extrinsic values such as power and achievement.
Book
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Książka zawiera zbiór artykułów omawiających problemy współzależności formy i przestrzeni życia w świadmości użytkowników i projektantów środowiska architektonicznego.
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Human geography's varied engagement with the brain has involved considerations of the way people know and respond to their environments, and their place-based experiences with emotions, mental illnesses and disorders, intellectual disabilities and particular neurological conditions. This paper argues however that this scholarship could be augmented by, and existing expertise be directed towards, considering physical brain abnormalities and injuries. As a case in point it considers the spatial experience of living with Type 1 Chiari Malformation. Through interviews with four sufferers, the research articulates three domains that they have had to re-negotiate - home space, social space and medical space - emphasizing supportive and challenging aspects of each, as well as meaningful and affective qualities to encounters. The paper concludes with some pointers towards the future study of physical brain abnormalities and injuries and the kinds of knowledge it might create to increase awareness and inform care.
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One goal of cartographic research is to improve the usefulness of maps. To do so, we must consider the process of spatial knowledge acquisition, the role of maps in that process, and the content of cognitive representations derived. Research from psychology, geography, and other disciplines related to these issues is reviewed. This review is used to suggest potential new directions for research with particular attention to spatial problem solving and geographic instruction. A classroom experiment related to these issues is then described. The experiment highlights some of the implications that a concern for the process of spatial knowledge acquisition will have on questions and methods of cartographic research as well as on the use of maps in geographic instruction. It also provides evidence of independent but interrelated verbal and spatial components of regional images that can be altered by directed map work.
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Chapter
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Chapter
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