Environmental Psychology

DOI: 10.1007/1-4020-4494-1_123 In book: Encyclopedia of Environmental Science, Chapter: Environmerntal Psychology, Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers, Editors: David E. Alexander, Rhodes W. Fairbridge, pp.223-224


Environmental psychology examines the interrelationship between environments and human behavior. The field defines the term ‘environment’ very broadly to include all that is natural on the planet as well as social settings, built environments, learning environments, local settings, and informational environments. When solving problems that involve human-environment interactions, whether they are global or local, one must have a model of human nature that predicts the environmental conditions under which humans will behave in a decent and creative manner. With such a model one can design, manage, protect or restore environments that enhance reasonable behavior, predict what the likely outcome will be when these conditions are not met, and diagnose problem situations. The field develops such a model of human nature while retaining a broad and inherently multidisciplinary focus. It explores such dissimilar issues as common property resource management, way-finding in complex settings, the effect of environmental stress on human performance, the characteristics of restorative environments, human information processing, and the promotion of durable conservation behavior and durable living. The field of environmental psychology recognizes the need to be problem-oriented, using, as needed, the theories and methods of related disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, biology and ecology. The field founded the Environmental Design Research Association, publishes in numerous journals including Environmental and Behavior and the Journal of Environmental Psychology, and has been reviewed several times in the Annual Review of Psychology.