Behaviors of human beings do vary a lot. The environment has an effect on the way the human beings behave.

It forms an area of interest to know what environmental conditions influence the way people carry themselves out. In this paper, the environment is identified to have an effect on relationships among people. The theories that explain environmental psychology are looked at. The ways that environmental psychology can affect people lives and especially in the area of learning is also handled.


Environmental psychology refers to an interdisciplinary study of the interrelationships that does exist between the human beings and the surrounding that they are in. In this case the environment and how it interplays with the human beings is very broadly described.

These environments include natural, social settings, informational environments and learning environments. Other environments are simply built and affect the interactions with humans. Human and environmental interactions produce conflicts which may be global or local. To solve these conflicts, it always calls for the establishment of a model of human nature that will help to fore-determine the surrounding conditions that will accord humans the privilege to behave in acceptable, creative decent ways. Once a model has been established, it becomes easy to set up environments that will be able to enhance reasonable behavior.

Theoretical approaches to environmental psychology


Two theories under focus in this paper will be the constructivist and the Gibsonian. Under the former, the theory states that the knowledge that people possess is generated from the experiences that they might have had in previous circumstances.

It is not specifically a form of instructed guidance or teaching as it were. This theory was established by one Piaget. Nickerson (2009) insinuates that this theory has had an outstanding impact on the way that learning processes take place at school. Many education reform movements presently relate to this theory as their underlying theme. On the constructivism theory there has been a lot of mixed views. Various techniques have also been established to support teaching methods that make use of this theory. This theory tries to elaborate the factors that affect the internalization of lessons that are learnt by students.

In this theory, the nature of the learner is studied and fore-determined. Uniqueness of the students has to be acknowledged, motivation accorded to them, culture and background of the learner studied and finally the responsibility of learning bestowed to the learner. In this theory, the roles of the instructor are also given focus. The instructor is required to carry out an active social process with maximum interaction with the learner in the learning process. The nature of the learning process under this theory is explained as being a dynamic interaction between the task, the instructor and the learner.

There should be no rigidities. Understanding is vital and the training methods should change with the circumstances. Another aspect of this type of learning is there needs to be collaboration between various learners who are bestowed with various skills and attributes.

This sharing will help to improve the students at the same time. In this theory, context is very vital just as the assessment is. In this theory, knowledge should also be discovered just as a whole when integrated.

Piecemeal study is not encouraged. A second last important aspect of this theory is that the learner should always be engaged in the study process just as equally as they should be given challenges. Finally the learning process has to be very well structured to ensure the targets are achieved and the goals of learning realized.

The Gibsonian Theory

According to Bonnes and Secchiaroli (1995), the Gibsonian theory forms a second theory that does influence the interactions of the individual and the environment. This type of psychology has received reference as ecological psychology. These are the writings of J.J. Gibson, Roger Barker, and Herb Wright among others.

Environmental psychology is another name that is used when referring to this type of psychology. This theory states that there are various behaviors that are acceptable and at times come naturally in certain environments. At church for example would articulate totally different behavior from one who is at a lecture theatre.

The importance of the environment was emphasized. According to this theory, animals and humans both form the environmental system and their various interactions explain the behavior that usually results. This theory insists that it is not what is inside of a person that affects how the person behaves but the atmosphere that one is.

Cognitive perception was ignored by the proposers of the theory. The information processing attributes of people were also negated by this theory.

Importance of research in Environmental Psychology

Research is very important in environmental psychology since it will help to iron out various strained relationships that do occur in our day to day interactions (Nickerson, 2009). Some causes of conflicts may not be internal but may be external. By carrying out research in this area, conflict resolution will take a new look that will tend to be more informed. The process of understanding will be better explained if more research is carried out. Teaching and learning styles will be improved so that wasteful methods are avoided. Research in this area will also help to explain people’s reactions towards various conditions.

Instead of people judging one another, there will be cordial yet harmonious co-existence as long as proper research is undertaken in this field. Study will also help to reduce the stressful situations that face people. Further research in environmental psychology will equally help to discover the Importance of environmental factors in relationships that affect people (Bell & Greene, 2001) Applications can be better enhanced in the environmental interactions. Behaviors of the subsystems in the environment can get a better explanation. There tends to be so many variations and mood swings that people experience. Research in this area will bring out an explanation satisfying as to why people would keep having such mood variations or feeling variations. Research will also help to formulate better problem solving methods for those issues that are caused by environmental conditions.

Solutions that are accorded to various circumstances at times tend to be far fetched and off target. This is because these sometimes are not explained. Research will provide a better understanding and hence harmonious co-existence in society.


Opportunities to tap the benefits of both Gibsonian and constructivist theory are myriad. It is quite important that more research be done in the field of environmental psychology. This will help to discover more the interrelationships that exist between various systems in the environment.

Learning can be better enhanced and relationships restored with a better understanding of the way that the environment affects interactions.


Bell, P., Greene, T. & et.

al. (2001). Environmental Psychology (5th ed.) Orlando: Harcourt College publishers.

Bonnes, M. & Secchiaroli, G. (1995). Environmental psychology: a psycho-social introduction.

London: Sage publications. Nickerson, R. (2009). Psychology and environmental change. Bedford: Lawrence and Erlbaum Associates Inc.


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