What Is Environmental Psychology Essay

932 words - 4 pages

What is Environmental Psychology?Psychology is a broad and ever-growing field that involves the study of the human mind and behavior. Within the field of psychology, there are various different branches, or sub-fields, one of which is environmental psychology. This branch of psychology is "an interdisciplinary and disparate field of study, enrolling researchers from psychology, geography, anthropology, sociology, planning and design, environmental psychology examines perceptual, cognitive and embodied relationships between humans and the environment, both natural and built" ("Environmental psychology," 2009). One of the main goals of the field of environmental psychology is to solve complex ...view middle of the document...

There are several theoretical approaches to the discipline of environmental psychology; one of these theoretical approaches is evolutionary psychology. This theoretical approach proposes that the human mind and behavior evolves as a way to enhance the species' ability to survive. One of the goals of the evolutionary theory is to identify systems of the mind, such as perception, thought processes, and biases that can be associated with different parts of the environment. According to Clayton and Myers (2009), evolutionary psychology assumes that innate psychological mechanisms, or modules, arose in response to adaptation. The environment served to command any specific changes that needed to be made. One example of this would be mating to ensure the survival of a species could be maintained, or the ability to understand and speak languages so as to allow for communication. The sytems and processes that were unnessesary for human survival were never initiated.In contrast to evolutionary psychology, the biophillia hypothesis suggests that "evolutionary pressures led humans to develop a genetically based predisposition to take a strong interest in and affiliate with nature, including plants, animals, and landscape features" (Clayton & Myers, 2009). This theoretical approach proposes that people's behaviors and emotional experiences are not directly heritable, or directly passed down through genetics; rather they are responses to external stimuli (Clayton & Myers, 2009). However, the tendency of humans to respond to specific stimuli in specific ways can have a genetic component. For instance, genotypes that prompt attention and emotional responses to natural objects could have conferred adaptive values, thus prompting early humans to respond appropriately to the elements of nature that support life, such as edible plants and safe shelters, and those elements that represent threats, such as dangerous predators or severe weather (Clayton & Myers, 2009). The negative responses to the elements of...

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