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Environmental Psychology

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matt hodgson

on 6 November 2012

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Transcript of Environmental Psychology

“We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.” Winston Churchill Architectural Determinism B. F. Skinner, a father of behaviourism, concluded that:

“Organisms tend to repeat responses that lead to positive outcomes, and they
tend not to repeat responses that lead to neutral or negative outcomes.”

Given that principle, Skinner went on to show that he could control the
behaviour of animals by manipulating the outcomes of their responses.
This was done through conditioning. Conditioning This concept of conditioning has been extended to include the built environment. There are four basic positions: THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND HUMAN BEHAVIOUR Suggests that the environment has no impact on behaviour. Free-will approach Perceives the environment to provide a set of opportunities upon which action may or may not be taken. Possibilistic approach The environment does affect behaviour but there are many variables. Probabilistic approach This is a form of learning. Learning is a durable change in behaviour or knowledge as a result of experience.


1. you cringe at the sound of a dentist’s drill
2. you ride a bicycle
3. a seal juggles a ball on its nose.
4. a phobia of spiders created from a repeated childhood experience
5. you associate a product with beautiful/fun people based on its advertising
6. a placebo works in a medical trial Eg. a cup is on the table. I choose to fill it up with water or not. It does not make me thirsty. Given an individual A with attributes a, b, c, set in an Environment E with characteristics d, e, f, and with the Motivation for action M it is probable that A will perform Behavior B. Deterministic approach Implies a simple cause-effect relationship between the environment and behaviour. For some this meant better architecture could make better people. Environmental determinism – it is how we are raised within our environments, rather than our heredity, that shapes our values and behaviour. Physical determinism – the nature of the geographic environment determines people’s behaviour. There is, for example a relation between culture and climate. Architectural determinism – changes in the landscaped and architectural elements of the environment will result in changes in behaviour, particularly social behaviour. Spacial determinism – where people live determines how they behave. This is usually a debate between living in the city vs. living in the suburbs. The End
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