Driving cars and living in high-rise apartments are relatively new experiences for the human species, but they demonstrate that we are particularly good at adapting to a diverse range of landscapes. Environmental psychology explores how physical spaces influence the way we feel, think, and interact with the world. Specialists in the field investigate everything from stressful designs in urban landscapes to the therapeutic effects of the outdoors on children.

Recent posts on Environment

Nature as Medicine

By Lisa Firestone Ph.D. on September 26, 2016 in Compassion Matters
Science now confirms just how good nature is for us, both extending and enhancing our lives. Learn all the ways nature benefits our minds and bodies.

This is Your Child's Brain on Video Games

By Victoria L. Dunckley M.D. on September 24, 2016 in Mental Wealth
Playing video games presents an "evolutionary mismatch": A fight-or-flight response unaccompanied by a physical discharge of energy. So guess where all the energy goes?

Worshipping the Sun God

Evolutionary psychological principles can help shape the field of architecture. And the result can be amazing. Here is a case study based on Wooster Hall at SUNY New Paltz.

How (Another) Industry Tried to Fool Us About Our Health

By Kenneth Worthy Ph.D. on September 21, 2016 in The Green Mind
Oil, tobacco...now the sugar industry caught trying to manipulate consumers.

Does an Abusive Upbringing Damage the Brain?

There are well-known associations between abuse or neglect early in life and later psychological or psychiatric complications. What do we know about what goes on in the brain?

Evolutionary Adaptations and Male Mortality

By Glenn C. Altschuler Ph.D. on September 20, 2016 in This Is America
The most social of the sciences, evolutionary biology draws on anthropology, endocrinology, and genetics to understand male aging, including the gender gap in mortality rates.

Interview: The Hidden Life of Trees

By Rachel Clark on September 19, 2016 in Mothering Nature
"To regulate the destruction of nature by law is not half as effective as loving nature." ~ Peter Wohlleben

Exercising our Freedom and Intelligence: Part 9

By Michael Hogan Ph.D. on September 18, 2016 in In One Lifespan
Groups working to maximize their collective understanding of societal problems need a space where they are free to exercise their intelligence.

Is Extreme Childhood Obesity 'Nutritional Neglect'?

By Sylvia R. Karasu M.D. on September 14, 2016 in The Gravity of Weight
By the latest statistics, about 17% of children and adolescents in the U.S. are obese and of these almost 6% are extremely obese. To what extent should parents be held accountable?

Do You Have NDD?

By Samantha Boardman M.D. on September 14, 2016 in Positive Prescription
According to a recent survey seventy five percent of children spend less time outside than the average prison inmate.

Say It Forward: Presidential Debates and Verbal Abuse

By Toby Israel Ph.D. on September 14, 2016 in Design on My Mind
The power to keep the peace—not just abroad but within our own borders—starts with respectful interactions within our own families and communities.

Cats and Humans: There's No Need For War

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on September 07, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Alley Cat Allies president Becky Robinson discusses why removing all free-ranging cats "by any means necessary," as suggested in "Cat Wars," is neither necessary nor humane.

Are You Trying too Hard to Be Environmentally Correct?

By Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN on September 07, 2016 in Cravings
How to survive in the age of environmental guilt.

"Cloudy with a Chance of Pain" Embodies Citizen Science

By Christopher Bergland on September 07, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
A groundbreaking initiative in the UK is using smartphone technology and citizen science to identify whether damp and gray weather really does cause stiffness in your joints
Wikimedia commons

The Ghost of Situationism and Why Personality Is Not a Myth

A recent podcast on the "myth" of personality trots out long discredited arguments against the reality of personality. Why do these ideas keep returning like a restless ghost?

Do Racial Stereotypes Have Nothing to Do with Race? Part II

Some readers objected to my coverage of research suggesting race stereotypes are often ecology stereotypes. Steve Neuberg, an author of that research, responds thoughtfully.

Play, Newness, and You

By Wilma Koutstaal Ph.D. on September 04, 2016 in Our Innovating Minds
What leads us to try new things?

A Good Life: Embodied, Earth-Centric or Controlled, Detached

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on September 04, 2016 in Moral Landscapes
David Abram, Spell of the Sensuous, challenges assumptions about history, earth living and the good life.

Are Racial Stereotypes NOT Really About Race?

New research, published in the prestigious journal PNAS, suggests that stereotypes about race are, mostly, not about race at all. How can that be?

Thinking About Our Senses

It's becoming clear we do more than see, hear, taste, touch, and smell.

Can We Trust Our Feelings?

By Rolf Reber Ph.D. on September 01, 2016 in Critical Feeling
Learn when you can trust your feelings.

What Determines Our Longevity?

Understanding the determinants of our longevity will help us understand where to place our attention.

"Cat Wars" Calls For Killing Free-Ranging Cats

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 31, 2016 in Animal Emotions
In a new book called "Cat Wars" the authors conclude, "the most desirable solution seems clear -- remove all free-ranging cats from the landscape by any means necessary."

Nature Therapy

Nature exposure does indeed soothe those worried parts of the brain into thinking less and relaxing more.
flickr.com

Two Ways of Seeing the World

By Steve Taylor Ph.D. on August 30, 2016 in Out of the Darkness
What makes 'civilized' western peoples different from indigenous peoples such as Native Americans? Our relationship to nature is psychopathic, whereas theirs was reverential.

Food at Work

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on August 29, 2016 in A Sideways View
Do you eat a sandwich or a salad in Dilbert cubicle or do you socialise in the canteen? Can your lunch or snack influence how you think and feel? And if so, what should you eat?

Why We Need More Empathetic and Compassionate Leaders

By Ray Williams on August 28, 2016 in Wired for Success
Recent studies have shown that contrary to some conventional wisdom, empathetic and compassionate leaders promote trust, collaboration and well-being, and get positive results.

The Urbanization-Mental Health Connection

During human evolution, the largest human communities rarely surpassed 150 people. An implication for modern living is this: Humans tend to do best in relatively small communities.

The Cross-Cultural Significance of Emoticons

The look of emoticons differs between Japanese and American culture. With Japanese emoticons, it is the eyes that are expressive, whereas in the U.S., it is the mouth.

Proclaiming Your Wabi-Sabi Is a Cathartic Antidote for Shame

By Christopher Bergland on August 27, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
You don't have to be a Zen Buddhist to embrace the power of wabi-sabi. Publicly acknowledging your imperfections can make you immune to the isolation created by shame.