Environmental psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on explaining human behavior in relation to the physical environment. In this case, the physical environment basically incorporates plants, animals, and material objects that have a significant impact on behavior at various levels. However, this branch of psychology does not focus on the interactional procedures among people as emphasized on other branches of psychology. In analyzing human behavior, it adopts a systems approach that has become the main approach in modern science.
Impact of Physical Structure on Human Behavior:
According to various theories, the physical environment or structure affects human behavior at various levels with instant behavior acting as a function of settings with which it happens (Matthew, n.d.). The individual personality traits of people within a specified country are largely influenced by the nature and type of physical environment that these individuals are subject to for a long period of time. This physical environment consists of various elements including climatic conditions, soil, topography, available materials, and various competitors in the realm.
On the other hand, there are social environments that are developed by the various elements in the physical environment. These elements that act as the source of and influences on the social environment are physic elements and economic relations. The physic elements are described as the awareness of kind that result in sympathy and co-operation in all stages of development from the least to the greatest conventions of today's society. On the contrary, the economic relations are the pursuit of wealth, which is the main factor behind social impulse.
The initial progress under these influences is usually unconscious just like the adaptation of a plant to a new environment. In every social organization including the highest phases, human response to environmental forces is effective in large measures than many people are ready to admit. While human beings development is initially unconscious, it soon becomes more conscious and self-governed because of the apparent geographic environment. All major elements of the environment and its forces are expressed in social institutions and conventions (Goode, n.d.).
Based on the descriptions of many studies on the impact of urbanization on human behavior, the instinctual behavioral patterns by individuals apparently break down when they are exposed to over-populated and artificial urban conditions. Therefore, different types of neighborhoods and physical structures like slums, flats, and red light areas have a great influence on an individual's behavioral patterns. For instance, racial differences and behaviors in personality are attributed to the impact of various environments with which these individuals have been subjected for a certain period of time.
Most of these instances occur under an aspect known as crowding which has a significant effect on human behavior. In most cases, people in higher density environments tend to express higher levels of distress, anger, frustrations, and aggression (Stewart, 2007). However, people living in lower density environments tend to behave in cooperation and less competitiveness.
Architecture as a Means of Controlling Human Behavior:
As an art that combines technology, expression, and the fulfillment of human needs, the purpose of architecture is to develop places where individuals can feel more alive, human, and satisfied. While the influence of various forces is largely recognized, the role of good design in determining and influencing human behavior is largely ignored. Architecture has an influence in managing human behavior because it provides an environment where people feel more dependent and fulfilled.
For instance, elderly people usually experience challenges in maintaining dignity and competency due to the struggles of deteriorating health and physiological abilities. Through architecture, a safer and secure environment can be developed to help these elderly people to be more dependent and less self-assured (Moore, n.d.). The major way with which architecture can be used as a means of managing human behavior is through the development of suitable environments. With the development of a good environment through architecture, individuals feel more alive, human and fulfilled resulting in good or positive behaviors. On the contrary, without a suitable environment developed through incorrect architectural procedures, people feel less human, alive and satisfied resulting in bad or negative behaviors.
Environmental Psychological Implications:
The two major types of building designs that are part of the architecture of the environment are commercial and residential designs. Commercial designs are mainly centered on developing buildings for corporate purpose in society…