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Environmental Psychology

Environmental psychologists study the relationship between human behavior and the environment, from both directions – how the environment affects behavior, and how people’s behaviors and attitudes affect the environment. Broadly speaking, environmental psychologists study any type of environment, including the “built environment” of homes, offices, and cities. For example, they investigate how spaces affect people, and how to create spaces that are conducive to human well-being. They ask questions like, “How do urban environments influence crime?”

While environmental psychology places more of a focus on the built environment, its two sub-disciplines, conservation psychology and ecopsychology, center on the relationships between people and the natural world. For example, they may study the psychology of climate change, or incentives for changing behaviors that degrades the environment. Each area of study is part of a growing interdisciplinary field bridging the social, life, and environmental sciences including psychology, sociology, geography, architecture, and environmental studies.