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the development of environmental attitudes.

Environmental psychologists often study how the built or physical environment affects human behavior. They may conduct research on this topic, or apply their knowledge to designing safe and ergonomic spaces that are conducive to emotional well-being, such as colorful, open floor plans.

Conservation psychologists study the development of environmental attitudes. For example, they may investigate the psychology of the valuation of nature – how and why people value nature – to better understand how to foster an environmental ethic. Another research area involves studying behaviors towards nature and natural resources. Psychologists study these behaviors to try to determine how to cultivate sustainable ones. They may also conduct experiments on the restorative effects of nature on the human psyche, such as how spending time outdoors reduces stress or increases concentration.

Ecopsychology is somewhat similar to conservation psychology. But while that sub-field focuses more on changing attitudes and behaviors, ecopsychology places more emphasis on ties between environmental and societal degradation. For example, it also aims to address poverty and inequality. It sees human well-being as integrally tied to environmental well-being, and focuses on healing human society, as well as nature.Ecopsychology areas of study include emotional responses to nature, the impacts of environmental issues such as natural disasters and global climate change, and environmental identity and concern. Ecopsychologists may try to understand transcendent experiences in nature, or use outdoor activities for counseling or therapy.
Environmental psychologists from all areas may:

  • Design, conduct, and analyze research
  • Share research results by publishing scholarly articles and presenting at conferences
  • Teach as faculty members at colleges and universities
  • Make policy recommendations
  • Collaborate with others, such as landscape designers, urban planners, environmental scientists, policy makers, architects, and engineers, to create safe, healthy, and inviting spaces in schools, prisons, cities, offices, industrial facilities, and homes
  • Include nature, wilderness, or outdoor therapy as part of clinical practice