Impact of Physical Environment on Human Behavior
What have you observed about the impact of the physical environment on your behavior and the behavior of others? How well do stimulation theories, control theories, and/or behavior setting theories account for the influence of the physical environment on your behavior and the behavior of people you know. Please be sure to give examples.
Impact of Physical Environment on Human Behavior
Physical environment is an integral part of human being. The nature and the extent to which human beings interact with the physical environment not only determine the possibility of humanity’s survival but also impact on the behavioral pattern of human beings. The general presumption here is that behavior is not predominantly innate; rather, behavior emerges as a pattern of long-term interaction between an individual and the immediate environment (Mazuch and Rona, 2005). Human behavior is, therefore, learned in the process of engaging with the physical environment and its components. Consider an analytical study on the impact of physical environment on human behavior offered in this paper based on critical studies and scholarly research presented by different proponents of humanistic architecture and therapeutic design approach in understanding human behavior.
Understanding the Impact of the Physical Environment on Human Behavior
Human behavior is largely dependent on one’s cognizant pattern of the environment. Environment, being the sole sustainer of life and the immediate provider of basic necessities to human survival, equally determines the pattern of an individual’s emotional, psychological, and physical behavior. As such, scholars have argued that limited access and/or restricted interaction with the environment have the devastating impact on an individual’s behavior. Unfriendly interaction with the physical environment can escalate abnormal behaviors and psychological, emotional, and physical conditions such stress, aggression, mood, and mood-swing, among other deviant behaviors. Kirk and Reid (2001) established that monotony and boredom caused by enforced idleness, lack of variety, and sensory deprivation, could contribute to vandalism. In this observation, an individual’s interaction with the natural environment is restricted, eliciting a defiant response from the individual.
Mazuch, and Rona, in their humanistic architecture and therapeutic design approach, further contend that the fact that individuals align their behaviors from frequent pattern of interaction with the environment provides a basic ground upon which deviant behaviors can be remedied through exposure to a palatable environment. In their three architectural design methods applicable in psychotherapeutic remedy, Mazuch and Rona observe that environmental characteristics such as artificial and natural light, color views, artwork, aroma, modulation of space, arrangement of furniture, sound, texture, as well as landscape and other indoor and outdoor environmental components such as air quality have extended healing and therapeutic benefits on an individual. For instance, sound is believed to be a perfect enhancer of an individual’s sensory memory, a belief that emanates from the health benefits attributed to music (Knight & Rickard, 2001). However, excessive exposure to extreme sound or noise can increase blood pressure, respiration, and even heartbeat rate, with these problems attributed to be the cause of deviant emotional and psychological behaviors such as stress, trauma, dementia, among other deviant behaviors (Knight & Rickard, 2001).
From the analysis presented by Mazuch, and Rona (2005), positive interaction with the physical environment elicits positively sanctioned behaviors, while negative interaction with physical environment elicits negatively sanctioned behavior. As observed in the above discussion, excessive exposure to sound elicits behaviors such as stress. Likewise, Mazuch and Rona observe that interaction with the components of physical environment such as smell, fragrance, and natural light have the capacity to influence mood, perception, or even motivation. Unpleasant smell, for instance, smells in hospital rooms, can evoke emotional response such as fear. This observation was developed from Zimring, Munyon & Ard’s (1988) assertion that the presence of even moderately offensive smell can greatly increase levels of aggression. Apparently, the offensive smell prompts irritations, disgust, and a possibly degenerated perception of the self, which escalate into aggression. However, apart from smell, color is believed to be associated with a variety of emotional responses. The red color is usually associated with fear, anxiety, terror, while yellow color elicits a happy reaction Mazuch, and Rona, 2005).
Drawing from this interactive pattern between physical environment and human behavior, it is evident that individual’s behavior- psychological, emotions, and/or physical-, is a reflection of the extent and the pattern of interaction between the individual and the immediate environment. Manipulating the environment, therefore, has the capacity to alter an individual’s behavior; change his/her moods, emotions or general mental condition. Environmental manipulation can, therefore, be utilized as a reliable psychotherapeutic approach as Mazuch, and Rona relates in their Nightingale Associates’ humanistic architecture therapeutic remedy.
Mazuch, R., and Rona, S. (2005). Creating Healing Environments; Humanistic Architecture and Therapeutic Design. Journal of Public Mental Health. Vol: 4(4), pp. 48
Kirk, J., and Reid, G, (2001). An Examination of the Relationship between Dyslexia and Offending in Yong People and the Implications for the Training System. Dyslexia. Vol: 7(2). Pp. 77-84
Knight, W., and Rickard, N. (2001). Relaxing Music Prevents Stress, Induced Increase in Subjective Anxiety, Systolic Blood Pressure, and Heart Rate in Healthy Males and Females. Journal of Music Therapy. Vol: 38(4). Pp. 254-272
Zimring, M., Munyon, W., and Ard, I (1988). Reducing Stress in Jails. Ekistics. Vol: 332. Pp. 215-230