Environmental Psychology

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALorraine Lander, Genesee Valley Center, Canandaigua Unit, SUNY Empire State College writes:

“The field of environmental psychology focuses on the connections between humans and their surroundings. Environment is defined broadly and includes nature, social circumstance, buildings, learning situations, and informational settings. Environmental Psychology is an interdisciplinary field that balances values and problem solving. It has been used to work on complex environmental problems to find solutions that support both individual well-being and larger social good.”

“Study in this field focuses on understanding how the psychology of individuals interacts with a broad range of environmental issues. Topics covered include western views on the environment and cover a range of psychological perspectives. Students can study how the unconscious influences our interactions with nature, as well as how social beliefs impact our actions. The role of rewards and punishments also influence our environmental views. Environmental toxins and their role in health are considered, as is the affect of the environmental on thinking, memory, learning, and stress levels. One important topic in this study is how child development is impacted by contact with nature.”

Below is a list of resources on this topic. Find a more complete list of resources with links for learning and teaching about this topic on our Pinterest site: Follow Sustainability’s board Environmental Psychology on Pinterest.


Research Methods for Environmental Psychology, Robert Gifford

Psychology for Sustainability: 4th Edition, Britain A. Scott, Elise L. Amel, Susan M. Koger, Christie M. Manning

Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being, Medicine & Health Science Books

The Power of Place: How Our Surroundings Shape Our Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions, Winifred Gallagher

The Psychology of Environmental Problems: Psychology for Sustainability, Susan M. Koger

Psychology and Environmental Change, Raymond S. Nickerson

State of the World 2010: Transforming Cultures: From Consumerism to Sustainability, The Worldwatch Institute

Environmental Psychology: An Introduction, Linda Steg

Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing, Doug McKenzie-Mohr