The term 'environmental psychology' may be a little vague or confusing to you. Then you are not alone.
It's not a big field yet, but it could be one of the most influential fields for the future of humanity. If you're interested, you'll want to know how to answer the following questions: What does 'environmental psychology' mean? What does it offer us? How is it used?
What is the definition of environmental psychology?
According to the Journal of Environmental Psychology, this field can be defined as:
'[The] scientific study of the commerce and interactions between people and their physical environment (including the built and natural environment, the use and abuse of natural and natural resources, and sustainability-related behaviors).'
In other words, environmental psychology is about the interaction between people and their environment. As a discipline, we seek to understand how and why our environment affects us, how we can use this knowledge to our advantage, and what we can do to improve our relationships with the world around us.
What is an environmental stimulus?
One of the main functions of a theory is to provide generalizations that give order and meaning to specific observations. A common observational question about environmental psychology is 'Why do people experience stress in certain situations?' or 'Why are people obsessed with certain places?' Motivational theory (Gifford, 2007).
Stimulus theory views the physical environment as an important source of sensory information (Wohlwill, 1966). Sensory information in the built environment can be simple (eg light, color, sound, sound, temperature) or very complex (eg an entire building, part of a neighborhood). The same idea applies to the natural environment... Humans are constantly stimulated by simple and complex environmental cues (Gifford, 2007). Before we look at how these symptoms affect our attitudes and behaviors, let's move on to a discussion of symptoms. Environmental stimuli can also vary in size (eg, intensity, duration, frequency, number of sources) and importance. For example, environmental information may depend on an individual's specific interpretation of a stimulus (Gifford, 2007). You might wonder about the impact of different sounds (and their meanings) on the productivity of people working in an open office. If the conversation continues in an open layout, the normal office noise sometimes rises to disturb noise levels. For some people, hearing voices and conversations directly related to their work can be particularly distracting. For others, it is not good to hear someone talking about a topic completely unrelated to the task at hand (for a similar study of sound meaning and semantic processing, see Smith, 1985).
Therefore, the importance of environmental stimuli seems to be important for our level of motivation. However, the extent to which it is used to stimulate the environment is also important.
One branch of the motivational theory is the theory of adaptation levels (Helson, 1964). The theory states that people adapt to certain levels of stimuli in certain environmental contexts. The adaptive theory recognizes the power of individual differences and emphasizes that a given degree of environmental stimulation is not always appropriate for everyone. Indeed, levels of stimulation that differ from our levels of adaptation can often alter perceptions and behaviors in a given environment.