GEO-36306 Environmental Psychology


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper1
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. MH Jacobs
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. MH Jacobs
Examiner(s)dr. ir. MH Jacobs

Language of instruction:



Environmental psychology studies the interactions between humans and the environment from a psychological point of view, that is, taking the individual mind as the primary unit of analysis. This course focuses on the reciprocal relationships between humans and those built and natural environments that are most relevant for the environmental sciences: nature, wildlife, landscape and places, and the environment in general. These relationships are rooted in biological as well as cultural and personal mechanisms. The course introduces the history and scope of the field of environmental psychology and describes the advantages and disadvantages of the methods used to derive scientific knowledge of environment and behaviour relationships. The students learn how natural and built environments are perceived and appreciated, how interacting with nature may benefit humans psychologically and physiologically, how people develop a sense of place, how cognitions and emotions towards wildlife are constituted, and how people may built up general images of nature and the environment. The course presents major theories such as, the working of perception and emotion, memory, conscious and unconscious psychological processing, arousal theory, the cognitive hierarchy model, and the psychology of aesthetics. The ultimate aim of environmental psychology is to contribute to creating liveable environments by providing relevant scientific knowledge. The question of how we can use knowledge on human-environment relationships to formulate management strategies, planning strategies, and design principles for urban-rural planning, landscape architecture, and natural resources management will be discussed.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain how the environment influences human perception, well-being and behavior;
- describe influential environmental psychological theories on landscape, nature, environment, and wildlife;
- illustrate the usefulness of environmental psychology for relevant professions;
- appraise societal debates about human-environment relationships;
- apply theoretical knowledge to propose solutions to practical problems related to human-environment interactions;
- structure arguments on an environmental psychological topic and defend these in a debate.


- lectures;
- training in argumentation and debating skills;
- discussion and literature study;
- group assignment.


- written exam (55%);
- group assignment (35%);
- argumentation and debating skills (10%).
An average mark of 5.5 or higher for all components constitutes a pass.


Reader Environmental Psychology: a selection of book chapters and scientific articles.

Restricted Optional for: BLPLandscape Architecture and PlanningBSc5AF
MFNForest and Nature ConservationMScA: Spec. A - Policy and Society5AF
MTOTourism, Society and EnvironmentMSc5AF