Conservation Psychology - Understanding and Promoting Human Care for Nature, 2E


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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition xi

About the Companion Website xiii

1 Introducing the Field of Conservation Psychology 1

Conservation 2

Psychology 3

Human care for nature 5

The roots of conservation psychology 7

The utility of conservation psychology 8

The practice of conservation psychology 10

The organization of the book 11

Conclusion 12

For further information, visit these websites 13

References 13

PART I HUMAN EXPERIENCES OF NATURE 2 Domestic Nature: Cohabiting with Animals and Plants 17

Animals in the home 17

History and variations in pet-keeping 18

Relationships with pets 19

Health and well-being effects of domestic animals 23

Social effects of companion animals 25

Robotic animals 27

Connections with nature 28

Plants in the domestic sphere 29

Effects of indoor plants 29

Window views of nature 31

Plant-facilitated therapy 31

Experience and effects of gardening 32

Conclusion 34

References 35

3 Managed Nature: Zoos, Aquariums, and Public Parks 41

Zoos and aquariums 42

Reasons for visiting 43

Visitors' experience of the zoo 45

Impact on environmental knowledge and concern 46

Maximizing the experience 48

Urban parks and green spaces 50

Parks and human well-being 52

Children and green space 53

Conclusion 55

References 55

4 Wild Nature: Encounters with Wilderness 60

Defining wild nature and wilderness 60

Wilderness use and wilderness values 62

Wilderness solitude 64

Natural forces and features 66

Wildfire 67

Natural disasters 67

Wild animals: attitudes and experience 69

The edge of control: wilderness remoteness and challenge 73

Activity in wild nature, connection, and caring 76

Wild nature and spiritual experience 78

Wilderness-based growth and therapeutic programs 81

Conclusion 82

References 83

PART II THINKING ABOUT NATURE 5 Attitudes, Values, and Perceptions 93

Core understandings of nature 93

Values 94

Attitudes 98

Perceptions 101

Evolutionary perspectives 104

Conclusion 109

References 109

6 Perceptions of Environmental Problems 114

Risk perception 114

Biases in information processing 118

Language and discourse 120

Understanding environmental problems 121

Attributions of responsibility 124

Linking perceptions to behavior 125

Conclusion 126

References 127

7 Moral Psychology and the Environment 130

Background on ethical concepts 130

Social intuitionism and moral foundations theory 131

A virtue ethics of the environment 134

The deontic tradition and psychological research 141

Contextual differences in moral duties 145

Consequentialism, emotion, and socialization 147

Psychological dynamics of moral functioning 151

Pragmatist ethics 154

Conclusion 156

References 156

8 Environment and Identity 163

The concept of identity 163

Identity development 164

Developing an affiliation with nature 166

Environmental identity 167

Ecopsychology and depth psychology perspectives 169

Measuring environmental identity 170

Place identity 171

Animals and identity 174

Environmental social identity 175

Identity and behavior 177

Putting identity to work 179

Conclusion 181

References 182


Identifying target behaviors 191

Influences on behavior 193

External factors 193

Internal factors 198

Models for changing behavior 204

Collective behavior 206

Conclusion 208

References 208

10 Community Psychology and International Biodiversity Conservation 212

International biodiversity conservation 213

Common pool resources and models of governance 214

New conceptions of the commons 216

Social capital and its limitations 220

Psychology, culture, and local knowledge 222

Creating ecological knowledge old and new: Traditional and modern citizen science 225

Accounting for the costs and benefits of conservation 228

Psychological costs of displacing populations for conservation 230

Conservation and all-too-human psychology 232

Psychological biases and emotion 232

Illegal trade in threatened and endangered species 233

Conservation, environmental threats, and conflict 235

Conclusion 236

References 237

11 Environmental Education 241

Environmental education 242

The need for environmental education 244

Examples of contemporary environmental education 246

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) 246

Classroom-based environmental education 247

Place-based education 248

Programs focused on biodiversity 250

Psychological foundations of environmental education 251

Cognitive development, ecology, and environmental knowledge 252

Affective factors and EE 253

Socialization 256

Action, participation, and problem solving 257

Lessons for effective practice 260

Conclusion 261

References 261

12 The Positive Psychology of Conservation 268

Nature as a positive environment 269

Negative emotions in response to environmental challenges 273

Positive emotions in relation to environmental behaviors 275

Eudaimonism and meaning 277

Materialistic values versus self-determination theory 279

Optimism and pessimism 283

Self-regulation and expectancies of outcomes 283

Explanatory style 284

Cognitive strategies 285

Optimistic and pessimistic biases in environmental issues 286

Toward strengths-based approaches 286

Human virtue and character strengths 288

Other-praising emotions and positive moral psychology 289

Engagement and creativity 291

Mindfulness 293

Collective flourishing 294

References 296

Glossary 305

Index 311

About the Author

Susan Clayton is Whitmore-Williams Professor ofPsychology and Chair of Environmental Studies at the College ofWooster in Ohio, USA. She has served as president of the Societyfor Environmental, Population, and Conservation Psychology and is president-elect of the Society forthe Psychological Study of Social Issues. Her research focuses onunderstanding and promoting concern about environmentalissues. In particular, Clayton is interested in the ways inwhich a relationship with nature is promoted through socialinteractions, and has studied these interactions in zoo settingsaround the world. Gene Myers is a Professor at Huxley College of theEnvironment at Western Washington University, where he offerscourses in conservation psychology, environmental history andethics, and teaches and advises in undergraduate and graduateprograms in environmental education. He is a past president of theSociety for Human Ecology. His research interests include thepsychological foundations of children s relation to animals;the ontogenetic development of environmental care and responsibility;the integration of positive psychology into conservation andsustainability practice; and the teaching of environmental ethicsand the preparation of future environmental educators.


Professional ecologists and conservationists have not always tried to understand the position of local communities because of differences in worldviews. The book Conservation Psychology can help them find a way out of such situations, as the authors reveal the psychological mechanisms of such conflicts. Anna Kuzemko, Bulletin of the Eurasian Dry Grassland Group, January 2017

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