Dr Birgitta Gatersleben
MSc Environmental Psychology Course Director
Phone: Work: 01483 68 9306
Room no: 21A AD 04
Birgitta has been conducting Environmental Psychology research for more than 15 years. At the moment she is lecturer in Environmental Psychology at the University of Surrey and Course Director of the MSc in Environmental Psychology. Birgitta has been at Surrey since 1998 where she worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow until 2001. She received her PhD from the University of Groningen in The Netherlands. Most of her work to date concentrates on sustainable consumer behaviour and energy use on travel and transport and on experiences in natural and built environments.
Natural environments can help reduce stress and improve cognitive functioning. However, much of our consumer behaviour alters and sometimes destroys such natural environments and depletes the natural resources it is dependent upon. Environmental Psychologists specifically study the relationship between people and their physical environment.
At the moment about 20% of the world population uses about 80% of the world’s non-renewable resources (Dürr, 1994). To support the high-consumption lifestyles of Western households for the whole world population the continuous use of about twice the total land surface of earth is needed (Goodland et al, 1994). It seems useful therefore to examine the factors that drive consumption and to determine potential options for change. Such research is interdisciplinary in nature and has been the focus of much of my work to date.
Examples of research projects to date are:
- 2006 - Understanding the links between lifestyles values and the environment (RESOLVE: www.surrey.ac.uk/resolve/). This 5-year cross disciplinary research program is led by Professor Tim Jackson at the Centre for Environmental Strategies (CES) at Surrey and involves researchers from CES and the departments of Psychology, Sociology and Economics. Within the psychology strand of the RESOLVE project we have been working on a range of projects including
1. Teenage consumerism: Surveys were conducted among young people (16-25) in the UK, Spain and China, to explore the relationship between material and environmental values, consumer behaviour and wellbeing.
2. The 21st century living project. The EDEN project is conducting a one year longitudinal study among 100 households in the UK to examine options for establishing more sustainable household consumption patterns. The RESOLVE team is responsible for exploring the values that underlie behaviours and behaviour changes.
3. Food and identity. This research examines the role of threatened identities in behaviour change.
4. Mindfullness and consumerism. Examines the role mindfulness can play in changing consumer behaviours.
5. Sustainable lifestylers; explores the concept of sustainable lifestyles (with Sociology).
6. Consumption production; explores the interface between production and consumption (with Sociology).
- 2008 - Barriers towards energy use in the home (BARENERGY). This project is funded under the EC Framework 7 programme, Theme 5 (Energy) involving partners from Norway, The Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Hungary and the UK. The main objective of this project is to develop methods to identify the relevance and strengths of various barriers for energy behaviour changes among end consumers and households, and to discuss how activities from political authorities, energy producers and NGOs can overcome these barriers.
- 2000-2003: Developing Tools for the Sustainable Households in the City of Tomorrow (ToolSust: www.toolsust.org). This three year EC funded project on sustainable household consumption, involved researchers from 5 different countries who represented both the social and environmental sciences. Our specific focus within this project was on participation and pro-environmental behaviour.
- 1994- 1998. Household Metabolism Effectively Sustainable (HOMES). Five PhD students from different disciplines studied household consumption patterns in the Netherlands. My PhD (Centre for Environmental and Traffic Research at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands) was entitled: ‘Sustainable Household Consumption Patterns and Quality of Life’.
The car is the main mode of transport for 63% of all UK trips and more than 70% of UK commuters travel to work by car (DfT, 2005). The use of private transport is one of the most energy consuming activities in modern households. A lot of my recent work has concentrated on examining why people use different travel modes and how they might be persuaded to use non-car modes more often. Most of this work was conducted when I was post Doctoral Scholar at the University of Surrey (1998 – 2001).
Examples of research projects conducted are:
- 2009: Hoody, goody, buddy (with Cadence Works). Examines how the use of different transport modes influences people’s perceptions of their social and physical environment.
- 2004: Cycling stereotypes and identities
- 2003: Instrumental, affective and symbolic aspects of the journey to work.
- 1999 and 2002: The impact of the Jubilee Line extension in London on travel behaviour, place attachment and neighbourhood quality.
- 1998-2001: The risk perceptions of transport generated air pollution.
- 2001: Walking buses and Croco cycles: safe walking and cycling routes to school.
- 2000-2001: promoting cycling to work: attitudes and perceptions in different stages of change.
- 2000: Comparing perceptions of transport problems and travel demand management between residents, policy makers and organisations.
Research in environmental psychology has shown that natural scenes, particularly unspectacular scenes such as parks, can reduce stress, and improve mood, concentration and task performance. This interesting area of Environmental Psychology was the focus of my Masters dissertation which I conducted in 1994. More recently I have become involved again in various studies examining the restorative effects of natural environments, mainly through the supervision of dissertation projects.
Some examples of research projects are:
- 2007 and 2008: Greenery on and around residential buildings.
- 2005 - : The impact of fear on the restorative potential and perceived quality or urban and natural environments.
- 2005: The effect of outdoor experiences on the mood and confidence of adolescents.
- 2004-2005: Blind people’s perceptions of natural environments.
- 1996: Mood change as a function of environmental design: arousal and pleasure on a simulated forest hike.
Book chapters and journal papers
Gatersleben, B. (2012). The Psychology of Sustainable Transport. The Psychologist, 25, 9, 676-679
Gatersleben, B (2012). Measuring pro-environmental behaviour. In: L. Steg, A. Van den Berg, J. de Groot (eds). Environmental Psychology, an Introduction, Chapter 13, 132-140.
Gatersleben, B. C. M., Murtagh, N. & Abrahamse, W. (2012). Values, identity and pro-environmental behaviour, Contemporary Social Science: Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences, 1-19. doi:10.1080/21582041.2012.682086
Gatersleben, B and Steg, L. (2012). Affective and symbolic aspects of environmental behaviour. In: L. Steg, A. Van den Berg, J. de Groot (eds). Environmental Psychology, an Introduction, Chapter 16, 166-174.
Murtagh N, Gatersleben B, Uzzell D. (2012) 'Self-identity Threat and Resistance to Change: Evidence from Regular Travel Behaviour'. Elsevier Journal of Environmental Psychology, 32 (4), pp. 318-326. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2012.05.008
Murtagh N, Gatersleben B, Uzzell D. (2012) 'Multiple identities and travel mode choice for regular journeys'. Elsevier Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 15 (5), pp. 514-524. doi: 10.1016/j.trf.2012.05.002. Full text is available at: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/533331/
2011Gatersleben, B. (2011). The car as a material possession. Exploring the link between materialism and car ownership and use. In: K. Lucas, E. Blumenberg and R. Weinberger (eds). Auto Motives. Understanding Car Use Behaviours. Emerald.
Andrews, M. and Gatersleben, B. (2010). Variations in perception of danger, fear and preference in a simulated natural environment. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 30, 4, 473-481.
Gatersleben, B. White, E. Abrahamse, W. Jackson, T. & Uzzell, D. (2010) Values and sustainable lifestyles. In: Roaf, S. (Ed) (2010). Transforming Markets in the Built Environment: Adapting for Climate Change, Earthscan Publications Ltd. April.
Gatersleben, B. White, E. Abrahamse, W. Jackson, T. & Uzzell, D. (2010) Values and sustainable lifestyles, Architectural Science Review, 53, 2010, 1–14
Gatersleben, B. and Haddad, H. (2010). Who is the typical bicyclist? Transportation Research, Part F, 13, 41-48.
White, E. and Gatersleben, B. (2010). Greenery on residential buildings, does it affect preferences and perceptions of beauty? Journal of Environmental Psychology, 31, 89-98.
Gatersleben, B. (2008). Humans and nature; Ten useful findings from Environmental Psychology research, Counselling Psychology Review, 23,2, 24-34.
Gatersleben, B. and Appleton, K. (2007). Contemplating cycling to work; attitudes and perceptions in different stages of change. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 41, 302-312.
Gatersleben, B., Clark, C., Reeve, A. and Uzzell, D. (2007). The influence of a new transport link on residential communities in London, UK. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 27, 145-153.
Gatersleben, B. and Uzzell, D. (2007). The journey to work: exploring commuter mood among driver, cyclists, walkers and users of public transport. Environment and Behavior, 39, 416-431.
Gatersleben, B. (2007). Affective and symbolic aspects of car use: a review. In: T. Gärling and L. Steg (eds). Threats to the Quality of Urban Life from Car Traffic: Problems, Causes, and Solutions, Elsevier, Amsterdam, Chapter 12, 219-234.
Meader, N., Uzzell, D. & Gatersleben, B. (2006). Cultural theory and quality of life. European Review of Applied Psychology, 56, 61-69.
Anable, J. and Gatersleben, B. (2005). All work and no play? The positive utility of travel for work compared to leisure journeys. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Volume 39, p. 163-181
Gatersleben, B. and Uzzell, D. (2004). Perceptions of car users and policy makers on the effectiveness and acceptability of car travel reduction measures: an attribution theory approach. In: Rothengatter, T. and Huguenin, R. (eds). Traffic and Transport Psychology; Theory and Practice, p 469-480.
Gatersleben, B. and Uzzell, D. (2003). Local transport problems and possible solutions. Comparing perceptions of residents, councillors, officers and organisations. Local Environment, Volume 8, no 4, 387-406.
Gatersleben, B., Steg, L. and Vlek, C. (2002). The measurement and determinants of Environmentally significant consumer behaviour. Environment and Behaviour. 34, 3, 335-362.
Gatersleben, B. (2001). Sustainable household consumption and quality of life: The acceptability of sustainable consumption patterns and consumer policy strategies. International Journal of Environment and Pollution, 15, 2, 200-216.
Gatersleben, B. and Uzzell, D. (2000). The risk perception of transport-generated air-pollution. Journal of the International Association of Traffic and Safety Science, 24, 1, 23-33.
Gatersleben, B. and Vlek, Ch. (1998). Household consumption, quality of life and environmental impacts: a psychological perspective and empirical study. In: Noorman, K.J. and Schoot-Uiterkamp, A.J.M. (eds). Green households? Domestic Consumers Environment and Sustainability. London: Earthscan Publications Ltd.
Gatersleben, B., and Vlek, Ch. (1997). Understanding household metabolism in view of environmental quality and sustainable development. In: Antonides, G., and Van Raaij, W.F., and Maital, S. (eds). Advances in Economic Psychology, Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.
Staats, H., Gatersleben, B., and Hartig, T. (1997). Change in mood as a function of environmental design: arousal and pleasure on a simulated forest hike. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 17 283-300.
Staats, H., Gatersleben, B., and Kips, J. (1994). A walk in a future forest. Research on emotional quality in design. Topos: European Landscape Magazine, 6, 103-109.
Vlek, Ch., Skolnik, M., and Gatersleben, B. (1998). Sustainable development and quality of life: expected effects of projected changes in economic and environmental conditions. Zeitschrift für Experimentele Psychologie, 45, 4, 319-333.
Abrahamse, W., B. Gatersleben and D. Uzzell (2009) Encouraging Sustainable Food Consumption: The Role of (Threatened) Identity, RESOLVE Working Paper Series, 04-09, University of Surrey, June 2009.
White, E., D. Uzzell, N. Ratzhel and B. Gatersleben (2010), Using Life Histories in Psychology: A Methodological Guide, RESOLVE Working Paper Series, 01-10, Guildford: University of Surrey.
Gatersleben, B., E. White, W. Abrahamse, T. Jackson and D. Uzzell (2009) Materialism and Environmental Concern. Examining Values and Lifestyle Choices among Participants of the 21st Century Living Project., RESOLVE Working Paper Series, 01-09, University of Surrey, June 2009.
Gatersleben, B., Meadows, J. Abrahamse, W. and Jackson, T. (2008). Materialistic and environmental values among young people volunteering in nature conservation projects. RESOLVE working Paer Series 07-08, University of Surrey
Carlsson-Kanyama, A., Dreborg, K, Eenkhorn, B., Engström, R., Falkena, H., Gatersleben, B., Henriksson, V., Kok, R., Moll, H., Padovan, D., Rigoni, F., Stø, E., Throne-Holst, H., Tite, L., and Vittersø, G. (2003). Images of everyday life in the future sustainable city:Experiences of back-casting with stakeholders in five European cities, Toolsust Deliverable No. 19
Gatersleben, B. and Clark, C. (2003). Public Participation and Environmental Decision making Toolsust Deliverable No. 14 c. University of Surrey, Guildford
Gatersleben, B., Uzzell, DL. and Clark, C. (2003). Jubilee Line Extension: LTR Perception Study, Phase II Report, Jubilee Line Extension Impact Study Unit, University of Westminster
Tite, L. and Gatersleben, B. (2003). Possibilities for long-term changes of city life: Experiences of backcasting with stakeholders Toolsust Deliverable No. 18 University of Surrey, Guildford
Gatersleben, B., Uzzell, DL. and Clark, C. (2002). Jubilee Line Extension Impact Study Unit. Perception Study, Baseline Report, Working Paper No. 25, Jubilee Line Extension Impact Study Unit, University of Westminster
Gatersleben, B., Leach, R., and Uzzell, D. (2002). Walking Buses and Croco-Cycles: Implementing and Evaluating a Safe Walking and Cycle Routes to School Programme. University of Surrey.
Gatersleben, B. (2001). Stakeholders and consumption in the five cities. UK National Report - Guildford. ToolSust Deliverable No 6. Guildford: Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, UK
Gatersleben, B., Leach, R. and Uzzell, D. (2001). Travel to school; Studying and promoting walking and cycling to school in four junior schools and one secondary school in Ash, Guildford. University of Surrey, Guildford, UK.
Gatersleben, B. and Uzzell, D. (2000). Residents’ perceptions of transport problems and sustainable solutions in Guildford. GBCRS Report 1. University of Surrey, Guildford.
Gatersleben, B. and Uzzell, D. (2000). Perceptions of transport problems and sustainable solutions in Guildford; the view of local organisations. GBCRS Report 2. University of Surrey, Guildford.
Gatersleben, B. and Uzzell, D. (2000). Perceptions of transport problems and sustainable solutions in Guildford; the view of Guildford Borough Councillors and officers. GBCRS Report 3. University of Surrey, Guildford.
Since 2000 Birgitta is Course Director of the Modular MSc programme in Environmental Psychology. This course covers a wide variety of areas within Environmental Psychology research including environmental perception, cognitive mapping, restorative environments, privacy and crowding, place attachment, environmental risk perception, sustainable consumption and sustainable transport.
Birgitta currently supervises three PhD students who are examining perceptions of fear in nature, mindfulness and materialism and place.
Birgitta was board member of the International Association of People Environment studies. An International association gathering all those disciplines which share a fundamental interest in environment and behaviour studies.
More information about IAPS can be found here: http://www.iaps-association.org/
Birgitta is member and cofounder of the Virtual Centre for Transport and Psychology. The CTP is a centre of excellence bringing together expertise in psychology and transport planning to work towards sustainable travel.
More information about the CTP can be found here. http://vctp.org/vctp/
Birgitta is coordinator and panel member of the Jonathan Sime Award for best UK undergraduate dissertation in people environment studies. More information about this award can be found here.
Gatersleben, B. (2009). Affective and symbolic aspects of travel. First conference on energy efficiency and behavior. Maastricht, October 2009
Gatersleben, B. (2009). RESOLVE. Research on Lifestyles, Values and the Environment. Psychology and Climate Change Policy Conference, 27 October 2009, Royal Society of Arts, London
Gatersleben, B. Lifestyles, values and the environment. Materialism and Environmentalism. Second workshop in the series Alternative Approaches to Sustainable Consumption: Acquiring habits and motivating change. Sustainable Consumption Institute, Manchester. Seminar, 15-16 January, 2009.
Gatersleben, B. and Westacott, K. The impact of value consistent and value inconsistent messages on intentions to save energy. IAPS conference, July, 2008, Rome
Gatersleben, B. The daily commute a time and place for recover? Workshop on Recovery from Work, University of Surrey, 31 March – April 1, 2008
Gatersleben, B. Affective and symbolic aspects of car use. ICAP, Athens 2006.
Gatersleben, B., Meadows, J., Abrahamse, W., & Jackson, T. (2007). Materialism and Environmental Values of Young people, Biannual Conference of Environmental Psychology, Bayreuth, Germany, Sep 9-12.
Gatersleben, B. (2007). What can we learn form leisure studies about environmental concern? Zoo Experiences and the Human Dimensions of Saving Wildlife, 24 - 25 May 2007, Zoological Society of London.
Gatersleben, B. (2005). Affective appraisals of the daily commute. 6th Biennial Conference on Environmental Psychology, September 19 - 21, 2005 in Bochum, Germany.
Gatersleben. B. (2004). The journey to work. Third International Conference on Traffic and Transport Psychology. ICTTP, Nottingham, 6-9 September 2004.
Gatersleben, B., Clark, C., and Tite, L. (2004). Using participation to increase the consumption of ecological products. 18th IAPS conference: Evaluation in Progress, Vienna, 7-10 July 2004
Gatersleben, B. and Abrahamse, W. (2003). Escaping from environmental decline: the case of household energy consumption. ‘Human Behaviour and Environmental Sustainability’, October 20-21 2003, Groningen, The Netherlands.
Gatersleben, B. and Stott, L. (2003). The journey to work: evaluating instrumental, affective and social motives. 5th Biannual Conference on Environmental Psychology. August 31- September 3, 2003. Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
Gatersleben, B., Clark, C. and Dean, M. (2003). Buying ecological food products. EPUK 03. (Third Environmental Psychology in the UK conference). 23-25 June, 2003. Aberdeen.
Gatersleben. B. (2002). Sustainable school travel. What is the potential for change? IAPS conference, 24-27 July 2002, La Coruna Spain
Gatersleben, B. and Uzzell, D. (2001). Cycling to work, a viable healthy alternative. Economic Psychology conference. Bath, 7-9 September, 2001.
Gatersleben, B. and Clark, C. (2001). Participation in environmental decision making. International Workshop on “Participation and Consumption: Social Action Patterns for Urban Sustainability” May 28th - June 3rd 2001 Erice, Sicily, Italy,
Gatersleben, B. (2001). Attitudes towards cycling, differences between cyclists and non-cyclists. BPS conference, 29-31 March 2001.
Steg, L. and Gatersleben, B. A social dilemma analysis of car use. A comparison between the UK and the Netherlands. ICTTP Traffic and Transport Psychology conference in Bern, 4-7 September, 2000.
Gatersleben, B. Perceptions of car reduction measures in Guildford: differences between residents, local businesses and local politicians. ICTTP Traffic and Transport Psychology conference in Bern, 4-7 September, 2000.
Gatersleben, B. and Uzzell, D. (2000). Developing acceptable sustainable transport measures for Guildford. IAPS Environmental Psychology conference in Paris 3-6 June.
Gatersleben, B. and Uzzell, D. (2000). Community based approaches to transport policy: 18th century solutions to 21st century problems. SPEER (Social Psychology and Economics in the Environment) workshop. Cambridge, 31 March-1 April, 2000.