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Environmental Psychology: New Developments (Psychology Research Progress)

Environmental Psychology: New Developments (Psychology Research Progress) PDF

Author: Jorge Valentin and Lucila Gamez

Publisher: Nova Science Publishers


Publish Date: September 30, 2010

ISBN-10: 1608769119

Pages: 273

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

Environmental Psychology: New Developments presents original research results on the leading edge of environmental psychology. Each chapter has been carefully selected in an attempt to present substantial advances across a broad spectrum.

Chapter 1 – Environmental Psychology provided a crucial knowledge foundation towards the development of Environment and Behavior (EB) studies in the 1960‘s. The central objective was to bridge environmental design research and design practice. The perceived need for a new field could be ascribed to concerns regarding the separation between the designers and the users of a building. Over the decades, however, EB had little exemplary influence on design practice, leading to disquiet among environmental psychologists and EB scholars regarding research utilization. Events in the American healthcare industry in the 1990s became a catalyst for transformation of the research-design relationship. A report by the Institute of Medicine highlighted the level of preventable deaths occurring in American hospitals. There was growing recognition that risks and hazards of health care associated injury and harm are a result of problems with the design of systems of care rather than, solely, poor performance by individual providers. Furthermore, there was substantial evidence that the design of hospital physical environments contributes to medical errors, to increased rates of infection and injuries from falls, and to slow patient recovery and high nurse turnover. As a result, the central focus in the healthcare industry became designing safer and more efficient hospitals. There was an urgent and emerging need for a novel approach to optimize healthcare quality within cost, legal, and cultural constraints. Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) provided a source of inspiration for healthcare design leading to Evidence-Based Design (EBD). In the past decade principles, framework, theories, and methods of Environmental Psychology have played a crucial role in the evidence-based design process. It has helped develop a structured approach to collating and examining evidence, representing information, and identifying knowledge gaps where further research is warranted to support design decisions. Growing research points to the need to change facility development and design methodologies of the past to integrate patient safety concepts in the design. This chapter describes the applications of environmental psychology to evidence-based healthcare design, and the manner in which environmental psychology concepts are transforming the design of hospitals.

Chapter 2 – This article presents a current review of the environmental psychology literature as it pertains to physical work environments. In addition to reviewing past literature, this article points out contemporary trends affecting workspaces, such as the trend toward distributed and/or remote work, the migration towards more digitized work environments, the need for more flexible office spaces, the push towards ―greener‖ and more environmentally friendly buildings (such as those that meet LEED certification), and the importance of increased rates of innovation at work. The article then discusses how these trends may affect the relevance of past research in this area. As relevant, research from related fields (e.g., architecture) will be incorporated to promote interdisciplinary insights and integration. The chapter will conclude with a general discussion of how environmental psychology can best position itself as a discipline given work trends/changes and lay out research questions for future inquiry.

Chapter 3 – Several years ago, proponents of the Sustainable Development (SD) approach identified four levels of impact of sustainable lifestyles (SLS) and actions on people‘s wellbeing. Accordingly, a sustainable society was presumed to positively affect the ecological, social, economic and political-institutional scenarios in which people live and thrive. More recently, a number of government and social institutions have added a psychological dimension to this list of levels of impact of SD. For these governments and institutions, psychological wellbeing should be a positive consequence of sustainability. An incipient research in environmental psychology reinforces such an idea, demonstrating that people who practice pro-environmental behaviors are happier individuals. Also, psychological restoration (i.e., retrieval from exhausted psychological capabilities and health) is assumed to derive from living in sustainable scenarios. Moreover, sustainability, as practiced in the form of pro-environmental behaviors, not only is linked to their psychological consequences but also to psychological antecedents of sustainable lifestyles. More than forty years of research have demonstrated that SLS are predicted by affective and cognitive determinants of behavior. In this paper authors review studies and views encompassing the psychological dimensions of sustainability. The basic idea is that it is human psychology (i.e., environmentally destructive behaviors and propensities) the main cause of the current ecological crisis; but human behavior is also a paramount solution. Thus, any interventional strategy to be successful has to consider the psychological determinants, the remedial behaviors, and also the positive consequences linked to more sustainable behaviors. Consequently, for analytical reasons, authors identify: 1) psychological antecedents, and 2) psychological consequences of 3) sustainable behaviors. All these three levels are subject to scientific scrutiny within the realm of environmental psychology and related areas. The psychological antecedents of sustainable actions include dimensions such as environmental emotions, affinity towards diversity, ecological worldviews, future orientation, proenvironmental deliberation, pro-environmental norms and values, and pro environmental competency, among others, which are described in this chapter. The psychological consequences of sustainability are subjective wellbeing or happiness, and psychological restoration, but a number of positive outcomes are to be added to this list. In turn, sustainable behaviors (or lifestyles) encompass pro-ecological, frugal, equitable and altruistic behaviors, which are actions resulting in the conservation of the socio-physical environment. Therefore, this chapter stresses the idea that psychology is a key constituent of sustainability. Since the environmental dilemma emerged as a consequence of human drives (i.e., motivations for exploiting and depredating the environment), and capacities (human intelligence and potential for exploiting natural resources), an important component of the solution to this dilemma has to be found in exploring human psychology across the three levels above identified. Also, in studying how human potentials (emotions, competency, deliberation, anticipation, etc.) can be converted into solutions to environmental problems.

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