House Thinking : A Room-by-Room Look at How We Live

by Jon Henshaw

Salon.com has an interesting interview with Winifred Gallagher about her new book “House Thinking. Winifred is an environmental psychologist who explores how we interact within the environment of our home. Here’s an excerpt of the interview:

What got you thinking about “House Thinking”?

House Thinking

When I was working on “The Power of Place” there was an enormous concentration — which there still is — on how our internal neurochemistry can affect our behavior. And that seemed to me to be very lopsided. I believe that the environment, and not just the social environment but also the physical environment, has a big impact on behavior. And science up until the turn of the 20th century thought that too — it was so-called geographical medicine. Doctors would tell patients afflicted with melancholy (which we call depression) to go to a sunny place to feel better. It actually works.

Our culture doesn’t look at the effects of the environment on behavior. We talk about social relationships and neurochemistry. But it’s not just my opinion that environment affects behavior. There’s real solid research from environmental psychology, from psychiatry, from design, architecture, cultural history. A Roman doctor in the second century said, “Melancholics are to be laid in the sunshine, for their disease is gloom.” The American Psychiatric Association didn’t recognize seasonal affective disorder until the ’80s, but the ancients recognized it and knew how to treat it. We can actually do much more to improve the quality of our lives for little or no money.

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This entry was posted on Friday, February 24th, 2006 at 8:16 am and is filed under Lifestyles, Home and Garden, Mental Environment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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