Culture, Environmental Psychology, and Well-Being: An Emergent Theoretical Framework

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Abstract

The concept of nature has a great variability across cultures and could be considered as an artifact that contains and conveys cultural information.

The cross-cultural research on nature suggests that culture is a valuable theoretical framework to understand the wide range of place-oriented attitudes, emotions, and perceptions. Although it is a classic theme in the environmental psychology field, the positive psychological effects triggered by natural environments have been poorly investigated in a cross-cultural perspective, favoring an evolutionary orientation in attempting to settle universal processes. Our contribution criticizes this mainstream view suggesting a crossbreeding with some key concepts coming from positive and cultural psychology (optimal experience, flourishing, positive emotions, vitality, cultural self). Highlighting some recent researches with an alternative view of the nature-well-being relationship, we aim to propose a wider framework encompassing natural areas, positive place experiences and cultures of belonging.