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Today on Powerline, Steven Hayward quoted a paper from “Lorraine Whitmarsh, an environmental psychologist.” I thought, “Huh?” So I looked up environmental psychology on Wikipedia: “Environmental psychology is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the interplay between individuals and their surroundings. It examines the way in which the natural environment and our built environments shape us as individuals … The field develops such a model of human nature while retaining a broad and inherently multidisciplinary focus. It explores such dissimilar issues as common property resource management, wayfinding in complex settings, the effect of environmental stress on human performance, the characteristics of restorative environments, human information processing, and the promotion of durable conservation behavior.”
Well, ok then. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t that pretty much just a cross between behavioral geography and architectural psychology? Yeah, the same thought crossed my mind, obviously. But Wikipedia addressed this hot-button controversy as well: “Although ‘environmental psychology’ is arguably the best-known and most comprehensive description of the field, it is also known as human factors science, cognitive ergonomics, ecological psychology, ecopsychology, environment–behavior studies, and person–environment studies. Closely related fields include architectural psychology, socio-architecture, behavioral geography, environmental sociology, social ecology, and environmental design research.”
So there you go.
My kids and I discussed this before college. I explained that Daddy was not paying for a degree in socio-architecture and that if they were going to spend years of their lives studying something, they might as well choose something that might help them and someone else at some point.
The explosion of fields of study that I’ve never heard of intrigues me. Where did all this stuff come from? Why? What kids go to their 1st grade grown-up day dressed up as a cognitive economist? And if they don’t aspire to such fields, what pulls them into these disciplines? And how do colleges tempt them to choose something they’d never heard of until this afternoon?
It’s not the job market, I wouldn’t think. I’m always amazed at how many waitresses have college degrees, and how many of them are in behavioral geography (or whatever).
Many of these kids borrow money – lots of money – to get advanced degrees in subjects that don’t matter to get jobs that don’t exist where they can earn no money. Why? What is their plan?
I understand the colleges’ motivation. They’re in the business of selling degrees. Fine.
What I don’t understand is the motivation of the students. Why do they choose fields like this? What is their plan?Published in