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How Environmental Psychology can enrich your Psychology classes. Dr. Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges Chair, Psychology Department UW-Green Bay. 5 Principles of Environmental Psychology. Capable of improving the physical environment (applied) Carried out in everyday settings

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how environmental psychology can enrich your psychology classes

How Environmental Psychology can enrich your Psychology classes

Dr. Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges

Chair, Psychology Department

UW-Green Bay

5 principles of environmental psychology
5 Principles of Environmental Psychology
  • Capable of improving the physical environment (applied)
  • Carried out in everyday settings
  • Considers person and setting as a holistic entity – social ecology
  • Recognizes that people actively cope with and shape settings rather than just absorb them
  • Interdisciplinary
consequences of indoor lifestyles
Consequences of Indoor Lifestyles
  • Insomnia and chronic fatigue
  • Depression – S.A.D.
  • Bone disorders
  • Fertility Problems, PMS, Irregular cycles
  • Obesity and other food related illnesses
  • Increase cancer risk
  • Stress
research and theory restorative environments
Research and Theory:Restorative Environments
  • Nature has been shown to provide opportunities for renewal of cognitive resources and psycho-physiological response capabilities.
people perceive nature as restorative and prefer natural environments
People perceive nature as restorative and prefer natural environments
  • Recent nationwide survey (Frerichs, 2004) showed 95% believe that a visit to nature relieves stress.
  • Motives for recreating outdoors include stress reduction, clearing the head, escape from civilization, and reflection on the important things in life.
  • People perceive nature as more beautiful and prefer it to the built environment.
nature is restorative
Nature is Restorative
  • More than 20 recent studies have concluded that exposure to nature (either passive viewing or active entry) is restorative
  • Attention Restoration Theory (ART) (e.g., Bagot, 2004; Berto, 2005; Lepore & Evans, 1996)
    • Directed attention fatigue = decreased concentration, increased irritability and stress
    • Nature restores by holding attention effortlessly (evolutionary history) and having high compatibility
  • Psycho-physiological stress recovery (Hartig, et. al., 2003)
    • After attention fatigue, nature (both brief views and walking) restores blood pressure to normal levels
stress health and restoration
Stress, Health and Restoration
  • Ulrich’s (1984) surgical patient study found patients with a view of nature:
    • required less pain meds
    • were hospitalized 1 day less on average
    • received fewer negative evaluations from the nursing staff.
  • Replicated with pictures of nature

versus abstract art

benefits of residential green space
Benefits of Residential Green Space
  • Ineffective stress recovery may undermine physical health
  • Urbanites without exposure to nature may display more symptoms of chronic stress.
  • Residents with abundant green space close and somewhat close (1-3 km) to home report fewer health problems (Maas, 2006).
  • Presence of green space promotes exercise, social contacts, better air quality and less noise.