The Concept of Nature

A Psychologist’s View
  • Joachim F. Wohlwill
Part of the Human Behavior and Environment book series (HUBE, volume 6)

Abstract

For all the debate and philosophizing and frequently polemical argument concerning nature and its relationship to man,1 the concept of nature does not seem to have proved a very natural one for psychologists. As noted in the introduction to this volume, the individual’s response to the natural environment has not been at the forefront of problems chosen for psychological investigation—not even among environmental psychologists. A perusal of the index of Psychological Abstracts reveals that Nature serves as an indexing term only in its adjectival form, and then only in reference to two very limited topics: Natural Childbirth (i.e., a process unaided by external intervention) and Natural Disasters. The prominent place of the latter as a subject of behavioral science research (though better represented within geography than psychology) may hark back to the historical fear of nature as a dangerous and potentially evil force in the affairs of man. But it is apparent from any discussion of environmental problems and treatments of the relationship between human activity and the physical environment that nature is a much more salient concept, for the lay person and the scientist alike, than one would suppose from the classification schemes of psychologists or from the subject matter of their research.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Anglin, J. M. Word, object and conceptual development. New York: Norton, 1977.Google Scholar
  2. Brimer, J. S., Goodnow, J. J., & Austin, G. A. A study of thinking. New York: Wiley, 1956.Google Scholar
  3. Brunswik, E. Perception and the representative design of psychological experiments. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1956.Google Scholar
  4. Carey, S. The child’s concept of animal. Paper presented at the meetings of the Psychonomic Society, San Antonio, 1978.Google Scholar
  5. Cermak, G. W., & Cormillon, P. C. Multimensional analyses of judgments about traffic noise. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 1976, 59, 1412–1420.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dubos, R. The God within. New York: Scribners, 1972.Google Scholar
  7. Gibson, E. J. Principles of perceptual learning and development. New York: Appleton-Century Crofts, 1969.Google Scholar
  8. Gibson, J. J. The perception of the visual world. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1950.Google Scholar
  9. Gibson, J. J. The senses considered as perceptual systems. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1966.Google Scholar
  10. Gibson, J. J. The ecological approach to visual perception. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1979.Google Scholar
  11. Gibson, J. J., & Gibson, E. J. Perceptual learning: Differentiation or enrichment? Psychological Review, 1955, 62, 32–41.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Glacken, C. H. Traces on the Rhodian shore: Nature and culture in western thought from ancient times to the end of the eighteenth century. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967.Google Scholar
  13. Hendee, J. C. Rural-urban differences reflected in outdoor recreation participation. Journal of Leisure Research, 1969, 1, 333–341.Google Scholar
  14. Holcomb, B. The perception of natural vs. built environments by young children. In Children, nature, and the urban environment: Proceedings of a Symposium-Fair (General Tech. Rep. NE-30). Upper Darby, Pa.: U.S. Forest Service Northeastern Experiment Station, 1977, pp. 33–38.Google Scholar
  15. Iltis, H. Can one love a plastic tree? Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, 1973, 54 (4), 5–7; 19.Google Scholar
  16. Jackson, J. B. Ghosts at the door. Landscape, 1951, 1 (1), 3–9.Google Scholar
  17. Kaplan, R. The green experience. In S. Kaplan & R. Kaplan (Eds.), Humanscape. North Scituate, Mass.: Duxbury Press, 1978, pp. 186–193.Google Scholar
  18. Kaplan, S., Kaplan, R., & Wendt, J. S. Rated preference and complexity for natural and urban visual material. Perception and Psychophysics, 1972, 12, 334–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kluckhohn, F. R., & Strodtbeck, F. L. Variations in value orientations. Evanston, Ill.: Row-Peterson, 1961.Google Scholar
  20. Kochen, M. Applications of fuzzy sets to psychology. In L. A. Zadeh et al. (Eds.), Fuzzy sets and their applications to cognitive and decision processes. New York: Academic Press, 1975, pp. 395–408.Google Scholar
  21. Kofsky, E. A scalogram study of classificatory development. Child Development, 1966, 37, 191–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Krieger, M. What’s wrong with plastic trees? Science, 1973, 279, 446–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lowenthal, D., & Prince, H. C. Transcendental experience. In S. Wapner, B. Kaplan, & S. Cohen (Eds.), Experiencing the environment. New York: Plenum Press, 1976, pp. 117–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McKechnie, G. E. Simulation techniques in environmental psychology. In D. Stokols (Ed.), Perspectives on environment and behavior. New York: Plenum Press, 1978, pp. 169–190.Google Scholar
  25. Mercer, D. C. Motivational and social aspects of recreational behavior. In I. Altman & J. F. Wohlwill (Eds.), Human behavior and environment (Vol. 1). New York: Plenum Press, 1976, pp. 123–162.Google Scholar
  26. Oden, G. C. Integration of fuzzy logical information. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 1977, 3, 565–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Porter, E. The place no one knew: Glen Canyon on the Colorado. San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1963.Google Scholar
  28. Rosch, E. Natural categories. Cognitive Psychology, 1973, 4, 328–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rosch, E. Principles of categorization. In E. Rosch & B. B. Lloyd (Eds.), Cognition and categorization. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1978, pp. 28–48.Google Scholar
  30. Rosch, E., & Lloyd, B. B. (Eds.). Cognition and categorization. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1978.Google Scholar
  31. Rossman, B. B., & Ulehla, Z. J. Psychological reward values associated with wilderness use: A functional reinforcement approach. Environment and Behavior, 1977, 9, 41–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Shepard, P. Man in the landscape. New York: Knopf, 1967.Google Scholar
  33. Ullrich, J. R., & Ullrich, M. F. A multidimensional scaling analysis of perceived similarities of rivers in western Montana. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1976, 43, 575–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wapner, S., Kaplan, B., & Cohen, S. An organismic-developmental perspective for understanding transactions of men in environments. Environment and Behavior, 1973, 5, 255–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ward, L. M. Multidimensional scaling of the molar physical environment. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 1977, 12, 23–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Welch, L., & Long, L. The higher structural phases of concept formation in children. Journal of Psychology, 1940, 9, 59–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wohlwill, J. F. Environmental aesthetics: The environment as a source of affect. In I. Altaian & J. F. Wohlwill (Eds.), Human behavior and environment (Vol. 1). New York: Plenum Press, 1976, pp. 37–86.Google Scholar
  38. Wohlwill, J. F. Visual assessment of an urban riverfront. Unpublished manuscript, 1977.Google Scholar
  39. Wohlwill, J. F. The place of order and uncertainty in art and environmental aesthetics. Motivation and Emotion, 1980, 4, 133–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Worden, P. E. The effects of classification structure on organizational free recall in children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 1976, 22, 519–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Young, H. H., & Berry, G. L. The impact of environment on the productivity attitudes of intellectually challenged office workers. Human Factors, 1979, 21, 399–407.Google Scholar
  42. Zadeh, L. A., et al. (Eds.). Fuzzy sets and their applications to cognitive and decision processes. New York: Academic Press, 1975.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joachim F. Wohlwill
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Human DevelopmentPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations