Class 11: Environmental Personality
February 28, 2012
The current state of nature
•Environmental problems affect human health
•Environmental psychologists study what motivates environmentally responsible behaviour
What Motivates Environmental Behaviour (or not)?
•Structural factors (e.g., SES, geography, infrastructure)
•Psychological factors (e.g., peer pressure, guilt, helplessness)
Is there an environmental personality?
•The Biophilia Hypothesis (Kellert & Wilson, 1993)
•Humans’ innate need to affiliate with other living things, based on our evolution in nature
•Nature’s importance to our health and development (greenspace studies)
•Ecological identity – sense of self that includes the natural world (not just humans)
What is “Nature Relatedness” (NR)?
•Individual differences in subjective connectedness (trait-like) (Nisbet, Zelenski, & Murphy, 2010,
full citations on WebCT)
•Cognitive, affective, physical relationship with nature
•Appreciation and understanding of interconnectedness
•Different from environmental attitudes, beliefs, behaviours, outdoor enjoyment
•21-item self-report measure of individual connectedness to nature (“NR”), with good validity
•I am not separate from nature, but a part of nature
• My relationship to nature is an important part of who I am
•I feel very connected to all living things and the earth
•NR-Self: 8 items, α = .8
•Humans have the right to use natural resources any way we want (reverse item)
•I think a lot about the suffering of animals.
•Nothing I do will change problems in other places on the planet (reverse item)
•NR-Perspective: 7 items, α = .66
•I don’t often go out in nature (reverse item)
•I enjoy being outdoors, even in unpleasant weather
•My ideal vacation spot would be a remote, wilderness area
•NR-Experience: 6 items, α = .80
The Nature Related Personality