Environmental Psychology: Definition and Influence


The purpose of this essay is to examine basic concepts of environmental psychology. It covers the definition and an important influence or a milestone and the relevance of such a milestone in the field of environmental psychology. The field of environmental psychology has concentrated on human influences on the natural environment and effects of such an environment on an individual. Environmental psychology is an interdisciplinary field that highlights values and problems and uses research to solve complex environmental issues that affect people.


Environmental psychology is an area of scientific study that focuses on the relationships between human and society, cognition and related behaviors of individuals. It is an interdisciplinary field that studies the interaction between people and their environments. In this regard, environmental psychology accounts for natural environments and other various forms environments, such as social, information, learning and built environments.

This definition perhaps offers critical aspects of environmental psychology with the broad aim of showing elements that form an environment and influence behaviors. Thus, the field borrows from other fields of psychology to highlight the concept of environments. Specifically, cognitive psychology has shaped environmental psychology in terms of understanding aspects of information, which people process to understand their environments. In attempts to achieve certain goals, individuals must comprehend some environmental patterns, learn new concepts and become environmentally competent.


Environmental psychology uses real-world settings rather than laboratory experiments to understand the interplay between people and their environments. In this regard, the built environment has become a key area of focus among environmental psychologists. The field strives to influence the effort of building architects, planners and other skilled workers in design with the aim of enhancing human environments. This approach is subtle. It does not focus on a given, single group or psychological mechanisms. Instead, the field of environmental psychology concentrates on various elements of the environment that can influence human behaviors and well-being (Kaplan & Kaplan, 2009). A built environment, therefore, may entail physical locations, social and conceptual elements found within it.

Consequently, the role and effects of built environments and architecture on human activities and behaviors have continued to influence the profession and potential future trends. Environmental psychologists and architect focus on how buildings influence human behaviors and society in general.


Individuals have various interrelations with their environments (Berman, Jonides, & Kaplan, 2008). For instance, a built environment could act as place identity. Usually, place identity has been linked to self-identity of an individual under a general category of the physical world in which a person occupies. Place identity could influence experiences of individuals that may be demonstrated through their feelings, attitudes, personal values, belief systems and ideas among others. Individuals also have special place attachment in addition to a sense of place. People develop such attachment and sense after spending time in a given place. Meaning and emotional interplay are critical factors for individuals in environments they occupy.

A built environment, therefore, is an important factor in understanding a person’s environmental consciousness and the interplay between people and their environments.


This essay has examined basic elements of environmental psychology. It shows that the field can aid in understanding individuals’ behaviors through their environments. Environmental psychology goes beyond the environment as it attempts to account for the context of behaviors. It focuses on the interplay between cognitive inclinations and the environment and therefore one can under various attributes of human behaviors. Environmental psychology remains broad because it is an interdisciplinary approach of understanding human behaviors and the relationships with their environments.


Berman, M. G., Jonides, J., & Kaplan, S. (2008). The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychological Science, 19(12), 1207-1212. Web.

Kaplan, S., & Kaplan, R. (2009). Creating a larger role for environmental psychology: The Reasonable Person Model as an integrative framework. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 29(3), 329-339. Web.