Many individuals are familiar with Counseling Psychology, and many think psychology only deals with mental problems. However, the field of psychology has various disciplines that apply to every aspect of human life. One of those disciplines is Environmental Psychology. Individual’s interactions with his or her man-made or natural environment can have an impact on psychological health and behavior. Environmental psychologists research how people interact within his or her everyday environment. There are several theoretical approaches to the discipline of environmental psychology, which will be discussed further. The important ...view middle of the document...
One related aspect that environmental psychology focuses on is attention of physical characteristics of the environment in which human behavior occurs. Another aspect of environmental psychology is its relationship between other fields of environmental study. Also, environmental psychology has adopted a wide variety of research methods to conduct analysis of events. There is also a common interest in the impending concerns that have definite social relevance (Environmental Psychology, 2004). The initial interest in environmental psychology came from acknowledging the importance of physical and spatial dimensions of the environment as it related to human experience and actions (Environmental Psychology, 2004).
Environmental psychology also stresses the importance of taking into account the physical environment as it impacts human psychological processes. Contributions made by environmental psychology include the domains of spatial behavior, environmental cognition, environmental stress/restoration, environmental assessment, and environmental concern with management of resources (Fisher, 2007). Such issues of space, crowding, and improvement of work environments have been a concern for human mental health and well-being (Fisher, 2007). The differences between territorial and personal space is encountered by humans on a daily basis.
Another topic of concern is environmental stress caused by the presence of many adverse physical conditions that can be persistent, influential, and uncontrollable sources of psychological distress. Environmental stressors are actual or perceived unpleasant characteristics of the physical environment that can produce negative physiological and psychological effects on humans (Environmental Psychology, 2004). The consequences of various environmental stressors can combine or interact with each other. Humans have to make adaptive efforts to be able to cope with the stressful conditions they encounter. Coping can also become a stressor in and of itself, especially if it is a long-term effort. The effects of coping in poor environmental conditions can include fatigue, learned helplessness, physiological mobilization, and overgeneralizations (Environmental Psychology, 2004). However, just as understanding the importance environmental psychology is also being aware of the different theoretical approaches that are taken within the discipline.
Two Theoretical Approaches to Environmental Psychology
There have been many theoretical approaches for explanations in environmental psychology throughout the discipline’s history. One such approach was introduced by Roger Barker. Barker introduced the idea of behavior settings, which is now a fundamental concept in the discipline of environmental psychology (Psychologist World, 2010) . Barker is famous for documenting a day in the life of several boys and noting how expression and behavior changed in a dramatic way as their environments changed. He showed how the individual takes on...