Environmental Psychology

Environmental Psychology

Environmental psychology is the discipline concerned with the interrelationship between human behavior and environment (Steg, 2013).   Environmental psychologists study the affect humans have on the environment and the manners in which environment affects human behavior in natural and built environments (Steg, 2013).   There is a reciprocal relationship between humans and the environment:  The environment provides the necessities of life and humans nurture and protects the environment that provides for them (Steg, 2013).  Initially, environmental psychology focused on the architectural aspect, studying the effect of building design and its implications for human behavior (Steg, 2013).   However, studying human behavior in the environmental setting included studying the surrounding environment such as society, urbanization, and personal space (Steg, 2013).

Environmental psychology took a greener approach as environmental problems became more evident (Steg, 2013).  Initially, the focus was towards human-caused air pollution and its effects on human health and well-being (Steg, 2013).  Technology consistently advances raising issues of energy supply and risk assessments (Steg, 2013).  Environmental psychology has evolved to include conservation behavior between human and environment interaction (Steg, 2013).

The evolution of the focus of the disciple of environmental psychology is phenomenal.  After the war, environmental psychologists grew curious about the housing provisions for the public and the impact of potential homelessness (Steg, 2013).  The discipline grew to include how humans maintain environment as a means of survival (Steg, 2013).  When the environment began to show signs of deterioration, new studies were launched to decipher preservation efforts (Steg, 2013).  With every notable environmental change, environmental psychology evolved to include theories of other disciplines that could tie in to explain the interrelationship between human behavior and the environment.  It is vital to understand the evolution of environmental psychology to grasp its concepts fully.


Steg, L. (2013). Environmental psychology: An introduction. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.


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