Did you recently hear someone say they were working on a degree in ecological psychology? Were you intrigued because you weren’t very familiar with this branch of psychology? Are you wondering if this is a career path that may also suit you? Keep reading, so that you can learn the necessary information regarding this profession.
Perhaps the first thing you should know in relation to this potential career path is that this branch of psychology is often referred to as environmental psychology. Although many theorists (such as Gibson) believe these two branches to be very different, Barker and his followers sometimes use this dual reference. In addition, there is a significant amount of overlap of these two psychological branches, but the Gibson approach and theories are more philosophical in nature and are always referred to only as ecological psychology. However, no matter which of these psychology theorists you choose to primarily follow, both are based on the works of behavior within real-world situations, as opposed to laboratory scenarios.
Ecological psychology is thought by many to be the fundamental branch of psychology. In fact, the disciplines and principles of other branches of psychology are often thought to have been created on the foundation of this branch. This is largely in part to the fact that other psychology branches are based upon the known and the knower and are studied in relation to that particular branch and its theories. However, ecological psychology is only the study of the known, or the things. The theories of ecological psychology often bridge the gap between things that are otherwise studied separately. This is found to be the case in areas such as evolutionary theory, cognitive theory, physics, and biology.
Here’s just a quick glimpse of the two main contributors to ecological psychology and its theories. Barker’s studies argue the fact that a human’s behavior is generally situated. This means that he believed that it was not feasible to make predictions about a human’s actions or behavior unless you were completely well-versed on the context of the action, the environment that it occurred in, and the context that caused it to happen. The other main theorist is Gibson, who you may recall has theories and beliefs that are never referred to as environmental psychology. Gibson’s studies and theories place a tremendous emphasis on an individual’s environment and how a person’s perception of the environment can have a direct relationship to his or her actions within the environment.
Therefore, it is not possible to accurately study and explain a person’s behavior without also having a thorough study and explanation of the relative environment. Gibson has a unique perspective because of his study of perceptual science and cognitive science. He believed that humans, as well as animals, have an ecological relationship to a specific environment. His theories are also based on the fact that a person’s foundation for perception is ambient and is related to the ecological information that is available.
Keep in mind, this is in direct opposition to the fact that a person’s behavior is relative to internal or peripheral sensations that he or she may experience. Generally speaking, Gibson believes that it does not matter significantly about the information that exists in your head, but rather the information that your head is coming in contact with to make you behave a certain way. Gibson’s work also focuses on the theory of affordances and direct perception. In addition, he rejected the theories that were related to information processing, constructivism, and indirect perception.