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Psychology 2990A/B
Doug Hazlewood

Psychology and the EnvironmentResidents of Nova Scotia near the Sydney Tar Ponds show particularly high rates of cancerOne of the worlds most hazardous toxic sitesAdolescents reported worrying about their health and their families more than students who lived awayThe adolescents who worried showed the highest levels of depressionEven students who lived away could be affected by this depressionThe Environment as a Source of Stress6 billion people on earth more than the total number of humans that have ever lived before usIncreasing at a rate of 250000 people a dayWill double by 2025 and double again at shorter intervalsWhen animals are crowded they reproduce more slowly take inadequate care of young and are more prone to diseaseCrowding in prisons Disciplinary problems suicides and overall death rates increaseStudents in crowded dorms are more likely to be socially withdrawn and likely to show signs of learned helplessnessElderly people suffering from dementia taken to a new less crowded unit showed beneficial effectsDensity The number of people who occupy a given spaceCrowding Subjective feeling of unpleasantness that results from the presence of others stress we feel when density becomes unpleasantCrowding and Perceived ControlCrowding depends on how people interpret the presence of others how much control they feel they haveIf the presence reduces feelings of control we are likely to experience a crowd as stressfulIf we feel we have control of the situation then we are unlikely to experience it as stressfulStudy High school students asked to work on some problems in a jampacked room with othersCondition 1 Students told that they were free to leave at any pointCondition 2 Worked under identical crowded conditions but were not given the choice to leaveCondition 3 Students worked in uncrowded conditions controlAfter the first set everyone moved into uncrowded rooms with hard puzzlesAt first crowded students 12 solved as many puzzles as the uncrowdedFor students not given the choice to leave 2 crowding eventually took its tollResult No control students 2 attempted the least number of questions 2 Students with control 1attempted almost as many as students with no crowding 3Conclusion It is not crowding itself that causes stress but the feeling that you cannot control or escapeNorms develop to protect peoples privacy in highly dense areasJapan and slums of Mexico Visiting people in their homes is very rare instead invite people to restaurantsCrowding and ExpectationsLikely to feel crowded when an environment contains more people than wed expectExampleIcefields in National Park if more people there than expected visitors felt crowdedCrowding and AttributionThe presence of others makes people physiologically aroused which can lead to different emotionsIf arousal is attributed to the presence of others it will be interpreted as uncomfortable and crowdedIf attributed to another source they will not feel crowdedEx Student in large lecture If she attributes arousal to the interesting lecture she wont feel crowded
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