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Report on the 9th Biennial Conference on Environmental Psychology

This 3-day conference featured 69 posters and 40 sessions that included virtual environments, restoration, the psychology of sustainable mobility, climate change, and public environment

By Katrin Dziekan

Eindhoven, The Netherlands, September 26-28, 2011

The 9th Biennial Conference on Environmental Psychology under the auspices of the Environmental Psychology Division of the German Psychological Association (DGPs) with its theme “environment 2.0” marked a milestone in this conference series and again set a new record in terms of participant numbers. More than 340 participants from all over the world met to discuss their research and to gather with their peers. The majority came from The Netherlands (29 percent), the UK (14 percent), and Germany (19 percent), but participants also came from the US, Australia, and Japan (from 30 different countries overall). As always, the conference offered young researchers, in particular, a great venue for presenting their work—almost 40 percent of the participants were PhD students.

The conference hosts, Cees Midden and his team, Antal Haans, Jaap Ham, Yvonne de Kort, and Ellen de Bee supported by many volunteers from the Human-Technology Interaction division at the Eindhoven University of Technology—made this event a success in many respects. View some photos of the conference.

Robert Cialdini (Arizona State University) gave the 2011 C.F. Graumann Lecture on “Norms-Based Messaging: An Untapped Power Source for Environmental Action.” Cialdini’s presentation provided an engaging start to three stimulating conference days. Wijnand IJsselsteijn (Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands), presenting “Experience Theater 2.0: Media Environments as Research Tools in Social and Environmental Psychology,” and Eus van Someren (Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam, The Netherlands), presenting “Rhythms in Light and Temperature Affect Sleep and Performance," gave keynote speeches that also spoke of the enormous scope of environmental psychology. Finally, Sebastian Bamberg (Bielefeld University of Applied Science, Germany), in his very positively received Environmental Psychology-Division Lecture, focused on “Processes of Voluntary Behavioral Change: Implications for Intervention Development.”

The program consisted of 40 sessions with 4 - 5 oral presentations each. Sessions and symposia covered a multitude of topics, ranging from virtual environments, restoration, the psychology of sustainable mobility, climate change, public environment, acceptance of sustainable technology for forests and wildlife, littering and waste reduction, norms, and sustainable behavior. The 69 posters were centrally displayed across all three conference days. To further draw attention to posters, spotlight poster sessions were introduced. In these two plenary sessions, each presenter was given a one minute chance to draw attention to his or her research. Different from some of the more conventional one-minute presentations, some scholars got rather creative in attracting their colleagues’ interest to their posters. View and download the conference program and the abstracts.

The conference dinner took place in a temporary restaurant in the old locker room of Philips employees in Eindhoven. Nice weather, music, and excellent food encouraged people to socialize and to enjoy themselves. At the conference dinner, the C.F. Graumann Award was announced. This year's prize went to Dörte Martens (University of Potsdam, Germany) for the article “Walking in ‘Wild’ and ‘Tended’ Urban Forests” published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology 31, 36-44.

Over the years, the Biennial Conference on Environmental Psychology has established itself as the European venue for presenting and discussing leading environmental, conservational psychological, and now also mobility-related and human-technology-interaction-related research. The next conference, the 10th Conference on Environmental Psychology, will be held in 2013 at the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany.