Special Issue "Advances in Environmental Psychology"

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A special issue of Behavioral Sciences (ISSN 2076-328X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 September 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jack L. Nasar (Website)

Department of City and Regional Planning, Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture, The Ohio State University, Knowlton Hall 275 West Woodruff Ave. Columbus, OH 43210-1135, USA
Interests: physical planning; design review; performance of neo-traditional neighborhoods; environmental perception; meaning and aesthetics; environmental correlates of fear of crime; crime prevention through environmental design; sense of community; program and building programming and evaluation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Environmental psychology is an interdisciplinary and international field that views persons and their physical surroundings as interdependent. It uses social science methods to study those person-environment relations, and recognizes the value of a multi-level, multi-disciplinary, social-ecological approach to such questions. This special issue explores the connections between the environment (at different scales, ranging from a room to a city) and the range of human responses addressed in the field.  These connections and related responses include, but are not limited to, environmental perception and cognition; environmental attitudes and appraisals; environmental stress, noise, and crowding; responses to disasters, settings, personal space, territoriality, and privacy; crime and fear of crime; behavioral change; home, neighborhood, work, and educational environments; and facility planning and evaluation. Articles appropriate for the special issue might include historical perspectives, theoretical articles, and reviews of research in a topic area, or discussions of a program of empirical research in an area. Papers that examine the relations between humans and their surroundings with planning, design or policy implications would represent excellent fits. This special issue aims to explore the state of knowledge in the field and the application of that knowledge to creating better places for people.

Dr. Jack L. Nasar
Guest Editor

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Advances in Environmental Psychology
Behav. Sci. 2015, 5(3), 384-387; doi:10.3390/bs5030384
Received: 7 September 2015 / Accepted: 7 September 2015 / Published: 9 September 2015
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Abstract
When Plenum stopped publishing its edited series—Human Behavior and Environment and Advances in Environment, Behavior and Design—the field of environmental psychology suffered a loss. Scholars could go to one of the edited Plenum books to find state-of-the-art reviews on existing [...] Read more.
When Plenum stopped publishing its edited series—Human Behavior and Environment and Advances in Environment, Behavior and Design—the field of environmental psychology suffered a loss. Scholars could go to one of the edited Plenum books to find state-of-the-art reviews on existing and emerging areas of research. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Environmental Psychology)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle Music as Environment: An Ecological and Biosemiotic Approach
Behav. Sci. 2015, 5(1), 1-26; doi:10.3390/bs5010001
Received: 2 September 2014 / Accepted: 24 November 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (119 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper provides an attempt to conceive of music in terms of a sounding environment. Starting from a definition of music as a collection of vibrational events, it introduces the distinction between discrete-symbolic representations as against analog-continuous representations of the sounds. The [...] Read more.
This paper provides an attempt to conceive of music in terms of a sounding environment. Starting from a definition of music as a collection of vibrational events, it introduces the distinction between discrete-symbolic representations as against analog-continuous representations of the sounds. The former makes it possible to conceive of music in terms of a Humboldt system, the latter in terms of an experiential approach. Both approaches, further, are not opposed to each other, but are complementary to some extent. There is, however, a distinction to be drawn between the bottom-up approach to auditory processing of environmental sounds and music, which is continuous and proceeding in real time, as against the top-down approach, which is proceeding at a level of mental representation by applying discrete symbolic labels to vibrational events. The distinction is discussed against the background of phylogenetic and ontogenetic claims, with a major focus on the innate auditory capabilities of the fetus and neonate and the gradual evolution from mere sensory perception of sound to sense-making and musical meaning. The latter, finally, is elaborated on the basis of the operational concepts of affordance and functional tone, thus bringing together some older contributions from ecology and biosemiotics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Environmental Psychology)
Open AccessArticle A Protocol for Evaluating Contextual Design Principles
Behav. Sci. 2014, 4(4), 448-470; doi:10.3390/bs4040448
Received: 17 August 2014 / Revised: 17 October 2014 / Accepted: 20 October 2014 / Published: 7 November 2014
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Abstract
This paper explains how scientific data can be incorporated into urban design decisions, such as evaluating contextual design principles. The recommended protocols are based on the Cochrane Reviews that have been widely used in medical research. The major concepts of a Cochrane [...] Read more.
This paper explains how scientific data can be incorporated into urban design decisions, such as evaluating contextual design principles. The recommended protocols are based on the Cochrane Reviews that have been widely used in medical research. The major concepts of a Cochrane Review are explained, as well as the underlying mathematics. The underlying math is meta-analysis. Data are reported for three applications and seven contextual design policies. It is suggested that use of the Cochrane protocols will be of great assistance to planners by providing scientific data that can be used to evaluate the efficacies of contextual design policies prior to implementing those policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Environmental Psychology)
Open AccessArticle Can the Identity of a Behavior Setting Be Perceived Through Patterns of Joint Action? An Investigation of Place Perception
Behav. Sci. 2014, 4(4), 371-393; doi:10.3390/bs4040371
Received: 25 August 2014 / Revised: 20 September 2014 / Accepted: 23 September 2014 / Published: 13 October 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (126 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
“Behavior settings” are generated by joint actions of individuals in conjunction with the milieu features (or affordances) that are available. The reported research explores the hypothesis that the identity or meaning of a behavior setting can be perceived by means of the [...] Read more.
“Behavior settings” are generated by joint actions of individuals in conjunction with the milieu features (or affordances) that are available. The reported research explores the hypothesis that the identity or meaning of a behavior setting can be perceived by means of the patterns of action collectively generated by the setting’s participants. A set of computer animations was created based on detailed observation of activities in everyday settings. Three experiments were conducted to assess whether perceivers could extract “structure from motion” (in this case, collective actions) that was specific to the particular behavior setting displayed by way of the animations. Two experiments assessed whether individuals could accurately perceive the identity of the behavior settings with such displays, and a third experiment indirectly examined this possibility by evaluating whether setting possibilities and constraints were recognized. The results offered some support for the hypothesis, and suggested several refinements in how to conceptualize a typology of behavior settings. An ecological approach to place perception is also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Environmental Psychology)

Review

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Open AccessReview Measuring Physical Neighborhood Quality Related to Health
Behav. Sci. 2015, 5(2), 190-202; doi:10.3390/bs5020190
Received: 14 March 2015 / Revised: 21 April 2015 / Accepted: 22 April 2015 / Published: 29 April 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (61 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although sociodemographic factors are one aspect of understanding the effects of neighborhood environments on health, equating neighborhood quality with socioeconomic status ignores the important role of physical neighborhood attributes. Prior work on neighborhood environments and health has relied primarily on level of [...] Read more.
Although sociodemographic factors are one aspect of understanding the effects of neighborhood environments on health, equating neighborhood quality with socioeconomic status ignores the important role of physical neighborhood attributes. Prior work on neighborhood environments and health has relied primarily on level of socioeconomic disadvantage as the indicator of neighborhood quality without attention to physical neighborhood quality. A small but increasing number of studies have assessed neighborhood physical characteristics. Findings generally indicate that there is an association between living in deprived neighborhoods and poor health outcomes, but rigorous evidence linking specific physical neighborhood attributes to particular health outcomes is lacking. This paper discusses the methodological challenges and limitations of measuring physical neighborhood environments relevant to health and concludes with proposed directions for future work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Environmental Psychology)
Open AccessReview Local Environmental Grassroots Activism: Contributions from Environmental Psychology, Sociology and Politics
Behav. Sci. 2015, 5(1), 121-153; doi:10.3390/bs5010121
Received: 1 January 2015 / Revised: 9 March 2015 / Accepted: 9 March 2015 / Published: 23 March 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (209 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Local environmental grassroots activism is robust and globally ubiquitous despite the ebbs and flows of the general environmental movement. In this review we synthesize social movement, environmental politics, and environmental psychology literatures to answer the following questions: How does the environment emerge [...] Read more.
Local environmental grassroots activism is robust and globally ubiquitous despite the ebbs and flows of the general environmental movement. In this review we synthesize social movement, environmental politics, and environmental psychology literatures to answer the following questions: How does the environment emerge as a topic for community action and how a particular environmental discourse (preservation, conservation, public health, Deep Ecology, justice, localism and other responses to modernization and development) becomes dominant? How does a community coalesce around the environmental issue and its particular framing? What is the relationship between local and supralocal (regional, national, global) activism? We contrast “Not in My Back Yard” (NIMBY) activism and environmental liberation and discuss the significance of local knowledge and scale, nature as an issue for activism, place attachment and its disruption, and place-based power inequalities. Environmental psychology contributions to established scholarship on environmental activism are proposed: the components of place attachment are conceptualized in novel ways and a continuous dweller and activist place attachment is elaborated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Environmental Psychology)
Open AccessReview Wayfinding in Healthcare Facilities: Contributions from Environmental Psychology
Behav. Sci. 2014, 4(4), 423-436; doi:10.3390/bs4040423
Received: 1 September 2014 / Revised: 13 October 2014 / Accepted: 20 October 2014 / Published: 31 October 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (132 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The ability to successfully navigate in healthcare facilities is an important goal for patients, visitors, and staff. Despite the fundamental nature of such behavior, it is not infrequent for planners to consider wayfinding only after the fact, once the building or building [...] Read more.
The ability to successfully navigate in healthcare facilities is an important goal for patients, visitors, and staff. Despite the fundamental nature of such behavior, it is not infrequent for planners to consider wayfinding only after the fact, once the building or building complex is complete. This review argues that more recognition is needed for the pivotal role of wayfinding in healthcare facilities. First, to provide context, the review presents a brief overview of the relationship between environmental psychology and healthcare facility design. Then, the core of the article covers advances in wayfinding research with an emphasis on healthcare environments, including the roles of plan configuration and manifest cues, technology, and user characteristics. Plan configuration and manifest cues, which appeared early on in wayfinding research, continue to play a role in wayfinding success and should inform design decisions. Such considerations are joined by emerging technologies (e.g., mobile applications, virtual reality, and computational models of wayfinding) as a way to both enhance our theoretical knowledge of wayfinding and advance its applications for users. Among the users discussed here are those with cognitive and/or visual challenges (e.g., Down syndrome, age-related decrements such as dementia, and limitations of vision). In addition, research on the role of cross-cultural comprehension and the effort to develop a system of universal healthcare symbols is included. The article concludes with a summary of the status of these advances and directions for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Environmental Psychology)
Open AccessReview The Role of Nature in Coping with Psycho-Physiological Stress: A Literature Review on Restorativeness
Behav. Sci. 2014, 4(4), 394-409; doi:10.3390/bs4040394
Received: 21 July 2014 / Revised: 27 September 2014 / Accepted: 10 October 2014 / Published: 21 October 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (77 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Physical settings can play a role in coping with stress; in particular experimental research has found strong evidence between exposure to natural environments and recovery from physiological stress and mental fatigue, giving support to both Stress Recovery Theory and Attention Restoration Theory [...] Read more.
Physical settings can play a role in coping with stress; in particular experimental research has found strong evidence between exposure to natural environments and recovery from physiological stress and mental fatigue, giving support to both Stress Recovery Theory and Attention Restoration Theory. In fact, exposure to natural environments protects people against the impact of environmental stressors and offer physiological, emotional and attention restoration more so than urban environments. Natural places that allow the renewal of personal adaptive resources to meet the demands of everyday life are called restorative environments. Natural environments elicit greater calming responses than urban environments, and in relation to their vision there is a general reduction of physiological symptoms of stress. Exposure to natural scenes mediates the negative effects of stress reducing the negative mood state and above all enhancing positive emotions. Moreover, one can recover the decrease of cognitive performance associated with stress, especially reflected in attention tasks, through the salutary effect of viewing nature. Giving the many benefits of contact with nature, plans for urban environments should attend to restorativeness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Environmental Psychology)
Open AccessReview Commodification of Transitioning Ethnic Enclaves
Behav. Sci. 2014, 4(4), 341-351; doi:10.3390/bs4040341
Received: 27 April 2014 / Revised: 20 August 2014 / Accepted: 9 September 2014 / Published: 29 September 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (73 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This literature review examines the changing roles of ethnic enclaves, the question of their authenticity, and their value as commodified spaces, giving special attention to Little Italy neighborhoods in the United States. Understanding the roles of ethnic enclaves requires some understanding about [...] Read more.
This literature review examines the changing roles of ethnic enclaves, the question of their authenticity, and their value as commodified spaces, giving special attention to Little Italy neighborhoods in the United States. Understanding the roles of ethnic enclaves requires some understanding about immigrants’ identities. For some theorists, immigrants become blended into society over the course of generations; for other theorists, descendants of immigrants sometimes retain their cultural heritage and traits, helping form a multicultural or pluralist society. In the traditional sense, ethnic enclaves consist of both ethnic residents and ethnic businesses (such as restaurants, shops, and grocers). One way that ethnic enclaves change is when the area experiences a demographic shift, and people from outside the ethnic group move their residences and businesses to the neighborhood, resulting in the area becoming diversified in people and businesses. A second way that an ethnic enclave changes is when the ethnic group shrinks, but the shops and other businesses remain, resulting in the area becoming diversified in residents but not businesses. This latter situation may encourage commodification of the neighborhood’s ethnic identity, where a municipality or business association seeks to preserve an enclave’s ethnic reputation for tourism purposes. This commodification has implications for many individuals and groups within the enclave as well as outside of it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Environmental Psychology)

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