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What Is Environmental Psychology

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What Is Environmental Psychology Environmental psychology is a discipline or field of psychology dealing with conservation and health psychologies. There are many theoretical approaches to environmental psychology. Several of these theories also tie into individual psychology as well. Two of the theories that connect both these psychologies are the alderian theory and Barker’s theory of under population. Research is very important to both the theories and environmental psychology as a field. Research and the lack of visible results was one of the reasons this field was born from the conservationist field of psychology. Environmental Psychology Environmental psychology examines the interrelationship between environments and human behavior and in this field the term environment is defined very broadly to include all that is natural on the planet as well as social settings, built environments, learning environments and informational environments (Young, 1999). From the beginning, environmental psychology has included researchers concerned with the health of the environment, and a great deal of research relevant to conservation psychology has been done by environmental psychologists (Clayton & Myers, 2009). Environmental psychologies roots come from late 1960s studies and research of other fields, although its exact origin is somewhat unknown (Clayton & Myers, 2009). There are many theories about this particular field of study – environmental psychology.
Theories of Environmental Psychology There are multiple theories of psychology in general as well as specifically theories about environmental psychology. One such theory is Alder’s theory or the alderian theory. Alder believed that negative emotional effects may ensue when environmental conditions preclude role establishment and the perceptions of belonging (Stewart, 2007). Barker’s theory provides additional perspective and support for Adler's theory concerning the ways that meeting responsibilities in domains such as home, school, work, and community contribute to the development of meaningful interpersonal roles and to a sense of belonging (Stewart, 2007). Barker’s work also included the under population theory as well. This theory stated that people will receive a maximal amount of positive psychological benefits when there are more behavioral settings and roles in which to participate than there are people competing to occupy those settings (Stewart, 2007). So Adler’s theory and Barker’s had many similarities. They both believed the environment affected a person. Barker added more to this theory and created a new one. He believed that the less people competing for a setting and roles in that setting, the better the positive benefits a person can receive. Adler’s study did not go that far in his research.
Research and Environmental Psychology Research is often done in any scientific branch or field. Environmental psychology is no different. Stewart tells us that “Environmental psychology research relies upon a variety of methods and population samples. Historically, research has occurred more frequently in field and practical settings than within laboratories (Stewart, 2007).” Research is the main method used when proving the theories related to this field. But it is not lab work like some sciences but rather more observation, which makes sense in a field that studies all the environmental setting around a person and how those surrounding affect him or her. Research is a fundamental building block in the field of environmental psychology.
Conclusion
Environmental psychology is a branch off of the conservation and health fields of psychology combined. It examines the interrelationship between environments and human behavior and in this field the term environment is defined very broadly to include all that is natural on the planet as well as social settings, built environments, learning environments and informational environments (Young, 1999). This particular field of psychology has roots that seem to lead to the 1960s and possibly a little further back, as there seems to be some uncertainty of the exact start of this field. There are many theories about this field in the science of psychology. Two of those theories also tie into individual psychology as well. Those two theories are the alderian theory and Barker’s theories. Both are similar in their belief that environments such as social setting affect a person. Barker’s theories go further into detail that Alder’s. They also added that the amount of population of an area has an effect on the positive personality effects on a person. Less people in an area leads to better social influence is what he seems to be saying in his research and Alder did not seem to study this type of influence. Researching this type of information is a building block to environmental psychology. Research used for this field is more observational than laboratory type of research and very necessary to this science.

References
Clayton, S., & Myers, G. (2009). Conservation Psychology. Hobokrn. NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.,.

Stewart, A. E. (2007). Individual Psychology and Environmental Psychology. Journal of Individual Psychology , 71.

Young, R. D. (1999). ENVIRONMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY:The study of human nature, reasonable behavior and durable living. Retrieved December 17, 2011, from personal.umich.edu: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~rdeyoung/envtpsych.html

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