Environmental psychology is an interdisciplinary field focused on the interplay between humans and their surroundings. The field defines the term environment broadly, encompassing natural environments, social settings, built environments, learning environments, and informational environments.
"To help clarify this, we distinguished two dimensions of place attachment: civic and natural, and explored their respective influences on pro-environmental behavior. A community sample of residents (N = 104) from two proximate towns with different environmental reputations reported the strength of their civic and natural place attachment, their performance of various pro-environmental behaviors, and a number of sociodemographic characteristics. Regression analyses revealed that natural, but not civic place attachment predicted pro-environmental behavior when controlling for the town, length of residence, gender, education and age," wrote L. Scannell and colleagues, University of Victoria.
"A path analysis demonstrates that adolescents' social exposure and media exposure are associated with biospheric value orientation. The biosperhic value orientation is found to mediate between the contextual variables (media exposure and social exposure) and environmental attitude. This environmental attitude, in turn, mediates the relationship between this value orientation and behavioral intention to act environmentally. Results show that both adolescents' behavioral intention and degree of social exposure are associated with their environmental behavior."
According to the authors of recent research from Lisbon, Portugal, "The main goal of this paper was to explore the relationship between living in industrial areas and individual's level of psychological health. Using a quasi-experimental design main findings suggest that, regardless of the type of industry that is operating, there was a significant association between living in industrialized areas and decreased levels of well being, optimism and use of active coping strategies."
"Consistent with predictions, environmental group membership and self-identity were positive predictors of intentions. Thus. greater involvement in environmental groups and a stronger sense of the self as an environmental activist were associated with stronger intentions to engage in environmental activism. There was also evidence that self-identity was a stronger predictor of intentions for participants with low rather than high environmental group membership."
"The study finds that as children cultivate their sense of place, they construct ''insideness'' in their sense of place including 1) environmental understanding (i.e., contextualized, comprehensive, and critical understanding of a place), 2) environmental competence (i.e., knowing how to navigate and engage in a place), and 3) diverse, strong affective relationships with a place," wrote M. Lim and colleagues, Georgia State University.
The researchers concluded: "Using "insideness" as a conceptual tool, this study discusses children's emplaced understanding and active and dialogical positionality in the development of their sense of place."
Within the field of environmental psychology, human beings' need for nature and its utmost importance for our health and well-being is described as a consequence of our evolutionary origin (3,4) and as a demand for stress relief (5). This means that we have an innate preference for natural environments and that the fascination and spontaneous attention we experience in nature contribute to ease our stressed souls.
All correlations were, however, small and showed no deterministic pattern in the relationship between adolescents' environmental worldview and personality, indicating that worldviews are not stable or innate characteristics within individuals, but can be influenced by interactions between the individual and its context. Personality traits explained only a very small part of the variation in adolescents' environmental worldview (.7%), suggesting that they are unlikely to blur the impact of EEIs in worldview-based assessment," wrote J. Boevedepauw and colleagues, University of Antwerp.
"Place identity and place attachment have been related to several environmental variables such as appropriation, residential satisfaction, physical care taken of the neighbourhood, restorativeness, environmental attitudes and, especially, pro-environmental behaviour. However, the role of place identity and place attachment has not been analyzed in relation to anti-ecological behaviours such as transgressions of environmental protection laws," scientists in Spain report.
Research in environmental psychology has encompassed individuals, interpersonal relationships, groups, organizations, communities, and even cultures, and their complex relationships with environmental factors. Empirical studies examined environmental variables ranging from ambient conditions-temperature, sound, lighting, and air quality-to architectural features of buildings and neighborhoods, to built and natural features of entire communities and regions.
In his article "Psychology's Essential Role in Alleviating the Impacts of Climate Change," Gifford (2008) underlines the important role that psychology can play in improving the health of our planet. He outlines some of the reasons why psychology has not been as influential as it could be, including the preponderance of natural scientists in resource-related government agencies, and encourages us to move beyond some of our traditional research and make ourselves heard. He argues persuasively that individuals are the ultimate key to change in the environmental situation: Even if policies, programs, and regulations change (and it is people who change them), they must be "bought into" by individuals to have an impact.