Dr Michael Lengieza
|Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology||RH-1004|
My research focuses on the ways in which people become more connected to the world around them so that they can “be good” (wellbeing and flourishing) and “do good” (engaging in "pro-collective" behavior). Thus, my research tends to have three areas of focus:
Spending Time in Nature
- What happens when we spend time in nature?
- How can we make outdoor experiences more impactful?
- Can we harness experiences in nature to promote "pro-collective" outcomes?
Feeling Connected to Nature
- Which experiences make us feel more connected to nature (and why)?
- What outcomes stem from feeling more connected to nature?
- How can we promote more positive human–nature relationships?
Protecting Nature & Valuing Nature
- What things predict people’s treatment of nature?
- How do pro-environmental values influence pro-environmental behaviors?
- How can we promote more sustainable lifestyle choices?
- How do people think about conservation and sustainability?
Ultimately, my research is informed by three broad lenses: environmental psychology, social psychology, and positive psychology.
Being interested in connectedness to nature and pro-environmental behavior, my research is best characterized as environmental psychology. So my research (and teaching) often has a heavy slant toward the environment and sustainability.
…I am trained as a social psychologist. So, my work often includes ideas borrowed from social psychology. For example, in my research I have drawn on theories of close interpersonal relationships, theories of self-awareness, and theories of positive emotions, to name a few.
In many ways, my research is simply applied social psychology and some of my studies have included social parallels (e.g., connectedness to humanity) to the environmental phenomena I study.
…My work is also heavily informed by positive psychology. I tend to focus on the role of “meaningful affective experiences” (e.g., awe, meaning and purpose in life, growth and authenticity, curiosity, nostalgia, etc.) and how they contribute to a sense of connectedness.
In addition to “doing good” (e.g., pro-environmental behavior) I am also interested in “being good” and focus on wellbeing as an outcome of outdoor experiences, in particular.
- Connectedness to nature
- Outdoor experiences
- Pro-environmental behavior
- Pro-environmental values