Environmental psychology deals with the interrelationship between humans and nature. How does nature affect people and how do people affect nature?
What is environmental psychology?
Environmental psychology is a relatively young branch of psychology. This works in two directions.
On the one hand, environmental psychology considers how certain environmental influences affect our psyche. One example of this is staying in the forest compared to staying in the city. The environment can have an impact on human relationships.
On the other hand, it is also about explaining why people act the way they do in relation to the environment. This leads to the question of what motivates people to behave in an environmentally friendly manner or to get involved in environmental protection.
The environment in the sense of environmental psychology means both the natural environment and the man-made environment. Therefore, the workplace, the place of residence and the people in your vicinity are also part of your environment.
Thinking, feeling and actions of people in interaction with the environment can be the subject of environmental psychology.
What does environmental psychology deal with?
When it comes to the question of how the environment affects people, the following topics are at stake:
Risk perception: How do different people perceive a risk, such as a natural disaster, based on their emotions, their values, or their beliefs?
Environmental influences on the perception of stress such as noise, traffic, lack of space, quality of living space or neighbourhood.
Perception and evaluation of different landscapes: Which landscapes do you find particularly beautiful, which less so?
Nature acts like medicine on the body
You can see this effect in the fact that blood and pulse drop, as does the cortisol level in the blood. And that your heart rhythm reacts more flexibly to stress. All of these are indicators of relaxation. Staying in nature for a few minutes can be enough. It improves your concentration and lifts your spirits. Experiences in nature make you more social, more tolerant and increase your tolerance for frustration. You don’t even have to be in nature to feel its effects.