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date: 11 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Environmental psychology developed in the midst of a wave of scientific and social movements of the past century rooted in large measure among the ecological sciences. And yet work in the field proceeded mostly untouched by an ecological perspective, as it remained wedded to a mechanistic mode of thought that has long gripped psychology more broadly. Frameworks more sympathetic to ecological thinking had been simmering among psychology’s early writings, notably in William James’s radical empiricism and Kurt Lewin’s field theory, but became realized only in the 1960s through the works of James J. Gibson, Roger G. Barker, and others. These frameworks share many of the assumptions of the ecological sciences and, collectively, can be located within a transactional worldview. When applied to psychology, this perspective emphasizes the central place of meaning in psychological phenomena. These approaches can function to guide environmental psychology into the fold of the ecological sciences.

Keywords: ecological psychology, eco-behavioral science, affordances, behavior settings, ecological sciences, meaning

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