SAGE Books - Environmental Psychology: A Psycho-Social Introduction
The social psychologist can therefore no more disregard the environment In the textbooks of this science the concept scarcely appears with any . Ecological and symbiotic relationships of plants and animals acting indirectly upon man, 7. People often ask me what I'm reading and what they should be reading. Here's a list of my favorite psychology books that are especially good for the workplace. In book: International Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology, Publisher: person- environment studies, social ecology, and environmental design research. First otherwise), natural environments, and the relationship between humans and both .
The role and impact of architecture on human behavior is debated within the architectural profession. Environmental psychology has conquered the whole architectural genre which is concerned with retail stores and any other commercial venues that have the power to manipulate the mood and behavior of customers e.
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 transferretail relies heavily on psychology, original research, focus groups, and direct observation.
One of William Whyte's students, Paco Underhillmakes a living as a "shopping anthropologist". Most of this advanced research remains a trade secret and proprietary. Organizations[ edit ] Project for Public Spaces PPS is a nonprofit organization that works to improve public spaces, particularly parks, civic centers, public markets, downtowns, and campuses.
The staff of PPS is made up of individuals trained in environmental design, architecture, urban planning, urban geography, urban design, environmental psychology, landscape architecture, arts administration and information management.
The organization has collaborated with many major institutions to improve the appearance and functionality of public spaces throughout the United States. This initiative implemented the transformation of excess sidewalk space in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan into public space. CHE has five subgroups that specialize in aiding specific populations: Being an interdisciplinary field is difficult because it lacks a solid definition and purpose.
It is hard for the field to fit into organizational structures. Proshanksy was one of the founders of environmental psychology and was quoted as saying "As I look at the field of environmental psychology today, I am concerned about its future. It has not, since its emergence in the early s grown to the point where it can match the fields of social, personality, learning or cognitive psychology. To be sure, it has increased in membership, in the number of journals devoted to it, and even in the amount of professional organizational support it enjoys, but not enough so that one could look at any major university and find it to be a field of specialization in a department of psychology, or, more importantly, in an interdisciplinary center or institute".
With environmental psychology being such a diverse field with many different approaches, students have a variety of programs to choose from. Arizona State University offers a master's in Environmental Resources, which takes more of a planning approach to the field.
The Environmental Psychology Ph. D program at the CUNY Graduate Center takes a multidisciplinary approach to examining and changing "the serious problems associated with the urban environment with a view towards affecting public policy" using social science theory and research methods. As discussed in detail on the program website, "recent research has addressed the experiences of recently housed homeless people, the privatization of public space, socio-spatial conflicts, children's safety in the public environment, relocation, community based approaches to housing, the design of specialized environments such as museums, zoos, gardens and hospitals, the changing relationships between home, family and work, the environmental experiences of gay men and lesbians, and access to parks and other urban 'green spaces'.
D in Human Behavior and Design studies in environmental psychology, interior design, sustainable design studies, human factors and ergonomics, and facility planning and management. Of two degree paths, the Environmental Design and Health path includes study with community practitioners and researchers in design and related fields, including health, community design, and public policy.
Research typically includes data collection and engaged research practices of design thinking and participatory design. This area of investigation has potential to create innovative health and educational partnerships, economic opportunities and neighborhood initiatives and relates to the strategic mission of the university to be highly engaged in civic sustainability. The focus is on how people are affected by both physical and virtual environments, as well as how people affect nature.
The program offers courses on environmental behaviour, environment and neuroscience, human factors, virtual environments and cognitive design, change management and greening organizations and architecture and estetics.
Dissertations have examined such topics as environmental aesthetics, spatial cognition, ethnic enclaves, neighborhood decline, neighborhood satisfaction, restorative and livable places, and behavior change. Prescott College offers a master's program that incorporates a number of the foundations of environmental psychology as well. The sub-fields in which the program provides includes environmental education, environmental studies, ecology, botany, resource policy, and planning.
Another description about the program is as follows: The focus is on how people affect and are affected by environments, and includes a pragmatic approach to promoting environmental stewardship behavior, as well as a focus on how "nearby nature" affects people's mental vitality, physical health and well-being.
An emerging theme is helping people to remain optimistic while learning to respond well to increasingly difficult biophysical circumstances. Another strain of environmental psychology developed out of ergonomics in the s. 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, inwhich 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.
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 University of Surrey was the first institution that offered an architectural psychology course in the UK starting in Since then, there have been over graduates from over 25 countries.
Sc in Environmental Psychology are automatically members, has been undertaking research for more than thirty years. EPRG's mission is to gain a better understanding of the environmental and psychological effects of space, no matter the size, with help from social sciences, psychology, and methodologies.
There are four categories under which the research projects fall: Other universities in the UK now offer courses on the subject, which is an expanding field.
See the APA 's list of additional environmental psychology graduate programs here: Many 80 inventions react upon man by direct impact in ways quite similar to those in which the natural environments operate directly upon him.
Many also operate indirectly by conditioning the size and constitution of populations, the forms and effectiveness of economic organizations, the types of political and religious and other cultural and control institutions and organizations, and even the major interests and functions of men. These invention and training elements of the physico-social and bio-social environments do vastly more to condition the collective behavior of men, by setting limits to it and by giving stimuli and material for its development, than the corresponding untransformed factors of the natural environments.
The conditioning effect upon collective behavior of modern transportation and communication, of power-machine industry, and of cheap food, clothing and shelter, to mention only a few illustrations, is so striking that it does not require elaboration.
Many of the inventions of the material social environments and much of the training of human beings, especially in language content, are carriers of psycho-social content and thus make this latter environment effective in the control of human behavior. This is especially true of books and other printed matter and of all objects of art. It is true also of the trained human being who is at once a bio-social product and a carrier of vast quantities of that language technique which is so large a constituent element of the psycho-social environment.
The psycho-social environment cannot exist without carriers and these are to be found in the two lower social environments, especially in the human bio-social environment. In fact, the customs of men constitute bio-social environment, and the same may be said of conventions, mores, folkways, fads, fashions, crazes, in their external manifestations. But since it is to the psycho-social content rather than to the carriers that we respond, we ordi- 81 -narily speak of customs, conventions, mores, etc.
The latter environment in its earlier forms was created gradually as the result of the accumulated neuro-psychic adjustment technique arising out of man's compulsory adaptation to physical nature. That is, he no longer adapted directly to the natural world, at least in any preponderating degree, but he adapted to it indirectly through his bio-social environment of men cooperating through the use of language in the collective forms of customs, folkways, conventions, mores, etc.
Originally our institutions and conventions in their overt behavior aspects grew up as phases of the bio-social environment on the basis of gesture and vocal language and overt cooperative behavior of men. They were the overt aspects of the inner habit organization or neuro-psychic technique. This was also the source of the psycho-social environment, which arose with the practice of attaching standardized or conventionalized meanings to external symbols, and especially with the invention of written language or symbols.
It is in the symbolic behavior of men that the highest forms of the bio-social and the lowest forms of the psycho-social environment overlap. Just to the extent that symbolic behavior comes to exceed in importance total overt responses or behavior, as language takes the place of action in adjustment, just to that extent must the human bio-social environment be transformed into this more stable and voluminous and abstract content of the psycho-social environment.
The psycho-social environment is no longer simple and concrete and transparent; it constantly becomes more abstract and general. But, since neuro-psychic processes cannot be observed directly and cannot exist without organic or inorganic carriers, we can know this environment only through its symbols.
These symbols are manifest in the overt usually symbolical overt behavior of other men and in detached or externalized language symbols, pictorial 82 art, sculpture, books, phonographs, etc.
Thus either the bio-social or the physico-social environments may carry this symbolic content which conditions in us psychic responses or by which we recognize meaning or psychic behavior. Even the abstract language symbols used in literature must be carried by a physical invention, such as a book, magazine, radio, phonograph, if they are not transmitted directly from one person to another.
Thus the lower social environments and the psycho-social environments overlap with each other to a marked degree, just as all other environments overlap with one another. Much of the psycho-social environmental content reaches us directly through the language behavior of individuals and we adjust to this environment in this form merely as to the psychic or language behavior of individuals.
In such cases we think only of individuals and to all intents and purposes our environing world is made up of psychically behaving individuals and of environmental objects of a lower order.
Environmental psychology - Wikipedia
This is especially true of the less cultured or intellectual types. They do not think particularly of the uniformities of psychic behavior which exist in their psycho-social environment. But less frequently we see the human element of our psycho-social environment not as separate persons but as groups of persons behaving uniformly, or we may even see it as abstract collective processes or forces or tendencies in the psycho-social environment.
We may speak of these as customs, folkways, conventions, traditions, beliefs, mores, fads, fashions, crazes, gossip, propaganda, public opinion, even science and religion. The question has been raised as to whether such abstractions can really constitute psycho-social environment, since they are intangible and cannot offer stimuli directly to the senses.
It is true that they cannot be perceived directly as sensory objects in the same way in which an apple or a pencil can be perceived They are graspcd conceptually rather than through concrete perception. However, the difference is only one of degree. That is, on the basis of our response to certain strategic or skeleton stimuli we integrate the perception or concept of the object as a whole.
We see what we are prepared by previous experience to see. Some people can see only the behavior of individuals and this not very well, while others can see the behavior of groups of men or the collective behavior of men, even though they do not see all of the men or all of their behavior.
And some few can see such collective behavior very well. Their previous integrations of perceptions of behavior enable them to project the parts of the behavior which they do not see through their senses directly and to see abstractly or conceptually the larger psycho-social processes in society. It is in this way that we have learned to apprehend customs, traditions, conventions, folkways, mores, public opinion, in fact societies, publics and all mankind.
We respond to such stimuli quite as definitely as we respond to the stimulus of a single person, but more abstractly. Even the individual is an abstraction, but less so than the group. We may say, therefore, that these abstract uniformities of behavior are as much objective realities as persons, but more abstract realities. They also condition our responses quite as much when we have acquired the power of integrating them perceptually or conceptually.
They are not mere metaphysical fictions as some psychologists would have us believe. But the most important phase of the psycho-social environment in our civilization is the externalized symbolic one of newspapers, books, etc.
It standardizes and stabilizes our responses and it carries a psychic content more abstract and weighty than that of individuals or collections of them. It is the psychic behavior of individuals primarily which constitutes the psycho-social environment, either when externalized and stored in the form of meaning symbols and complexes of meaning symbols of the neuro-psychic technique, or when merely objectified and communicated through the symbolic behavior or language as customs, 84 beliefs, conventions, etc.
Because the psycho-social environment is built wholly out of objectified neuro-psychic behavior as meaning, it is ordinarily the most fluid of all of the environments. It is never twice the same, but is changing constantly as men think and as they develop attitudes, especially as they think and act collectively. Man has integrated and projected this environment for himself as a sort of bulwark or protection against nature and through its aid he has largely transformed nature into the derivative physico-social and bio-social environments.
Science, as one of the larger, and unquestionably the most important, of the elements of the psycho-social environment, has been most useful in this process of transforming the natural environments into the derivative environments. But the psycho-social environment in turn re-creates the behavior of man. It was this environment which largely transformed him from an element in the original natural organic environment into an element in the bio-social environment, on the biological side.
It made of him a trained and domesticated animal at the same time that he as such an animal was creating the psycho-social environment out of his own neuro-psychic behavior. The two processes have always been reciprocal. But to-day the volume of the psycho-social environment, especially on the externalized side, has become so great and its refinement and differentiation and definition so specific and effective that it acts as a powerful force to create new behavior patterns in nascent or developing individuals.
The race throughout its history has created the psycho-social environment, but the psycho-social environment creates exclusively and completely the complex mental and moral and social character traits of individuals. This environment which mankind, collectively, has created now dominates completely their spiritual life.
Through the stimuli which it offers it molds them entirely, and if it affects men differently at different times and in different places this is because it is possessed of an almost endless variety of forms and intensities acid operates upon men of vastly different capacities and characteristics.
This is the environment which actually functions in our social organization. The other environments, when considered as wholes, are more or less abstractions. Their constituent elements never are assembled in one place and at one time in all their completeness, but it is possible to think of them as synthetic wholes arising out of the multiplicity of our experiences and observations.
But the composite or derivative control environment, either general or special, represents an actual organization of selected 'aspects of the other environments which are recognized as having more or less concrete, as well as conceptual, integration, although no one of these environments in its entirety ever operates upon an individual or upon groups. Thus if we consider a national environment, such as the Irish People, or the economic or industrial environment, or the Christian Church as an environment, we can readily conceive each of these as objective and concretely integrated facts.
Each does possess a considerable degree of objective unity of organization, and yet no one person subject to the environment is equally affected by all aspects of it. Nor are any two people affected by nominally the same environment in the same ways. Even here different ones of these composite control environments affect the individual or the group with different degrees of concreteness and inclusiveness.
This social organization possesses all degrees of definiteness and concreteness. It may, at one extreme, have the indefiniteness of organization of the "nationality" or the "race," which is a more or less loosely assembled group of concepts of customs, traditions, mores and folkways, and institutions, changing slowly and possessing no definite internal unity, but a certain vague conceptual unity.
At the other extreme, it may possess the definite unity of a highly organized association performing a specific function, such as the W. Even 86 in these illustrations of associations different degrees of objective and conceptual unity are observable. Institutions are themselves highly composite environmental phenomena, the component elements of which possess varying degrees of definiteness and unity.
In any institution will be found a certain number of definite associations. Possibly the institution itself may have the nominal or actual character of an association, as in the case of some religious denomination or a political party. Alongside of the more or less definitely organized associations in institutions will be found many other elements, such as traditions and customs, mores and folkways.
These various elements of such an institutional environment function together as a variable and inconstant unity. The nature of an institution changes slowly, as its content changes, and its life history is long, but not eternal.
Some of the more limited and definitely organized associations may lack elements from the natural environments, but all other environments will be represented. In the more general derivative control environments, including the social institutions, all elements are present.
But in all cases the psycho-social environment is dominant in the composite or derivative control environments. The very existence of control, with a certain degree of consciousness of the nature and functions of the control environment, implies this fact. Here we find the two-fold or reciprocal relationship of behavior and environment most completely illustrated.
Constantly the behavior of individuals and groups is molding and reshaping the character of the derivative control institution, and this institution is in turn molding the character of constituent individuals and groups and associations. Often this interchange of behavior pressures is highly conscious and purposive oil the part of individuals subject to the environment.
But whether conscious or unconscious in its operation, it is in such behavior relations that we find the chief subject matter of so- 87 -cial psychology and it is out of the study of such relationships between behavior and environment that the science of social psychology grew. The meaning of these terms should now be clear. Individual behavior is the response of the integrated organism to stimuli from its environment. The nature of this integration and the part which environment plays in it were elaborated in the preceding chapter and will be discussed in some of its details in the following.
Collective behavior, on the other hand, is the occurrence of identical or similar responses in several individuals at the same time and place or in response to the same or similar stimuli, or of unlike responses which have a reciprocal or supplementary relationship to each other. In practice of course it usually proceeds from both of these conditions. Where people respond in this similar manner we speak of them collectively as groups, whether they have face-to-face contacts or are connected only by stimuli operating at a distance.
Modern life has developed so many communicating agencies that it is possible, almost inevitable, that vast numbers of people should be subjected to the same or similar stimuli and that their behavior should take on a highly uniform character. In relatively settled or static periods and societies the derivative control environments, especially the institutional environments, assume such a highly uniform character that almost all behavior seems to possess a collective aspect at the same time that it is individual.
So true is this that the individual may stand out from the group scarcely at all. In more dynamic times and societies, individual behavior is less uniform in character, because of the rapid change iii stimuli acid of their unequal incidence at different places. But it may still be collective behavior because it is reciprocal or supplementary or both.
But on the whole, due to the universalization of communication 88 apparatus, modern society approaches in its wider behavior processes the highly uniform character which obtained in the primitive primary group, organized and perpetuated under the sway of custom and tradition and convention and relatively untouched by the dynamic force of science or revolutionizing experience. This wider uniformity of modern response is not due so much to the sway of custom and tradition as to the universality of modes and content of communication, that is, to convention in the large.
It must not be supposed, however, that the uniformity of our complex civilization is as specific and simple as that of primitive groups.
Although communication makes possible the wider spread of stimuli, the responses to these stimuli are more various within certain general limits. It is the reciprocal and supplementary character of such responses which integrates into a group or society the organisms which make these responses.
A large portion of the collective behavior of modern societies is of this reciprocal and supplementary, but differential, character. The reason for this is that modern societies are too complex and too rapidly changing to permit of complete dominance by any one stimulus or for responses to be of uniform character in minor details, although there may be relative uniformity in the larger patterns of behavior. The greater the variety of different types of plants growing on any unit of area the larger the total number of plants that area will accommodate.
Similarly, societies can become increasingly complex in their behavior only by differentiating the content of that behavior increasingly. But all of these differences in behavior must be integrated into a larger functional unity by having a common objective in adjustment, such as that of survival, or conquest, or production, 89 or any other end. But it must involve supplementation and integration in keeping with the larger values and pressures. And practically all behavior, whether individual or collective, is social.
Even individual behavior is nearly always response to stimuli from a social environment or is conditioned by such stimuli or by responses of other individuals or by collective behavior which serve as stimuli. It is possible to think of groups or societies as organisms, and the experimental biologist Child takes this viewpoint, already made familiar in a different connection by some of the leading sociologists of the nineteenth century.
In such a case we might conceivably speak of collective behavior as an indivisible or irreducible form of response to environmental stimuli, and some might be inclined to regard this as the true social behavior. But closer examination shows us that after all the unity in the behavior reduces itself to similarity and supplementariness of the responses of the constituent or individual members of the groups.
The group or society is therefore both effect and cause of response. A Study in Social Psychology, Chs.
L.L. Bernard: An Introduction to Social Psychology: Chapter 6: The Environmental Bases of Behavior
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