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Psychology 299

Introduction to Ecopsychology

Length of Course: 14 weeks

Classroom Hours per Week: 4

Number of Credits: 3

Prerequisite: Psychology 120 and 12 credits

Corequisite: English 100

Text: There is no required text. Instead, students will read a collection of scientific, peer-reviewed papers in ecopsychology, conservation psychology, and environmental psychology.

Course Description:

This course will explore the scientific links between three key domains – human psychology, wilderness/nature experiences, and environmental problems – with a particular focus on two key questions: (1) What impact does nature have on human thought, feeling, and behavior? (2) What are the psychological factors that influence our environmental attitudes and behavior? The course will include a 2-night, 3-day backpacking trip in the mountains within a few hours drive of Vancouver; this experiential component will allow for a deeper exploration of these two questions.

Course Outline:

What is ecopsychology?

How serious are the problems? Why aren’t we doing enough?

The “ecological self” and connection to nature.

The impact of nature on human psychology and biology.

The relationship between ecological behavior and human needs.

The relationship between ecological behavior and human values.

The links between ecopsychology and child development.

The modern urban society – food, consumerism, technology, and transportation.

The social psychology of environmental attitudes and behavior.

The “wilderness effect” and ecotherapy (or wilderness therapy).


Participation 10%
Term Projects 50%
Mid-term 20%
Final Exam 20%


Gary Mangel, B.A. (McGill), M.A. (Simon Fraser)

Transferability: see