Dr Kayleigh Wyles
My passion for the natural environment (especially marine environments) has long been engrained in both my professional and personal life. I’m interested in the relationship between humans and the natural world, which is reflected in both my research and teaching. After completing my PhD at the University of Plymouth combining Environmental Psychology with Marine Biology and a post-doctorate position at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, I joined Surrey in 2016 as a lecturer in Environmental Psychology.
Areas of specialism
Connectedness to Nature;
Litter (marine plastics)
University roles and responsibilities
- Year 1 Tutor (BSc Psychology Programme)
- Personal Tutor
- Visiting Tutor
- Athena Swan Committee
Affiliations and memberships
Contact the press team
Phone: +44 (0)1483 684380 / 688914 / 684378
Out-of-hours: +44 (0)7773 479911
Senate House, University of Surrey
Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH
Environmental Psychology focuses on the relationship between people and their physical environment. This encompasses two key aspects: 1) the influence the environment has on individuals (in terms of experiences, behaviour and well-being); and 2) the influence humans have on the environment (thus understanding the determinants and drivers of behaviours that have positive or negative impacts on the physical setting). Across my research and teaching, I am interested in exploring both aspects independently and together, with the marine environment as a common theme throughout.
The Marine Environment
Whilst 70% of the Earth consists of oceans and seas, this natural setting is often overlooked. Consequently, my research often looks at the human dimension of threats facing this environment (e.g. microplastics, marine litter, and overfishing), and people's use and experience of this natural setting. In order to address these global multidisciplinary topics, I have worked with economists, marine biologists, oceanographers, geographers, modellers, artists, and environmental scientists from a range of countries (including Brazil, Norway, USA, Chile, South Korea, and Sweden).
The Influence of the Environment on People
Experiencing nature can be therapeutic, restoring people's cognitive functioning and promoting their physical and mental health. I'm interested in exploring the mechanisms as to why nature (and especially coastal and marine settings) have these benefits, looking at the importance of connectedness to nature and place attachment, childhood upbringing, and the type and quality of the environment.
The Influence People have on the Environment
Individuals can have a dramatic impact on the state of the natural environment, from their consumer choice, to everyday behaviours to political will. Within my work, I'm interested in understanding key drivers of behaviour and behaviour change, including the role habits have, value orientation, knowledge and perceptions but also people's links to the environment such as childhood upbringing and connectedness to nature.
Application and Impact
A key driver of all of this work is to be useful and applied locally, nationally, and internationally. Consequently, I am active in working with a range of stakeholders, from NGOs to advising decision makers, such as contributing to parliamentary enquiries and advising the United Nations through GESAMP (Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection)
As well as organising the Academic Tutorials for the Year 1 students, I contribute to the following modules:
PSY3072 - Environmental Psychology
PSY3095 - General Psychology
PSY3065 - Dissertation for the BSc programme
PSYM066 - Key Questions in Environmental Psychology: People & Place
PSYM067 - The Psychology of Sustainable Development
PSYM034 - Dissertation for the MSc programme.
Postgraduate research supervision
Christopher Wiles (F/T Psychology Dept.): Can virtual reality natural environments be used to manage the symptoms of clinical depression? [working title]. School-funded PhD Studentship. October 2017-in progress (DoS)
Mark Newman (F/T Psychology Dept.): Virtual reality and restorative natural environments [working title]. Self-funded. October 2017-in progress (2nd Supervisor)
Christy E. Hehir (F/T Tourism Dept.): Beyond Good Intentions: Wildlife Tourism as a Driver of Emotion and Philanthropic Behaviour Change. ESRC PhD Studentship. October 2016- in progress (3rd Supervisor)
Wyles, K. J., Pahl, S., Holland, M., & Thompson, R. C. (2016). Can Beach Cleans Do More Than Clean-Up Litter? Comparing Beach Cleans to Other Coastal Activities. Environment & Behavior. Online. Doi: 10.1177/0013916516649412
Walker-Springett, K., Jefferson, R., Böck, K., Breckwoldt, A., Comby, E., Cottet, M., Hübner, G., Le Lay, Y., Shaw, S., & Wyles, K. J. (2016). Ways forward for aquatic conservation: applications of environmental psychology to support management objectives. Journal of Environmental Management, 166, 525-536.
Wyles, K. J., Pahl, S., Thomas, K., & Thompson, R. C. (2015). Factors that can undermine the psychological benefits of coastal environments: Exploring the effect of tidal state, presence, and type of litter. Environment & Behavior. Online, Doi: 10.1177/0013916515592177
Wyles, K. J., Hidalgo-Ruz, V., Pahl, S., & Anderson, A. (2015). Social aspects of microplastics in the marine environment. In Kershaw, P.J (Ed.) GESAMP reports & studies series: Sources, fate and effects of microplastics in the marine environment - a global assessment. GESAMP (IMO/FAO/UNESCO-IOC/UNIDO/WMO/IAEA/UN/UNEP/UNDP Joint Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Protection)
Wyles, K. J., Pahl, S., & Thompson, R. C. (2014). Perceived risks and benefits of recreational visits to the marine environment: Integrating impacts on the environment and impacts on the visitor. Ocean and Coastal Management, 88, 53-63.
Wyles, K., Pahl, S., White, M., Morris, S., Cracknell, D., & Thompson, R. C. (2013). Towards a Marine Mindset: Visiting an aquarium can improve attitudes and intentions regarding marine sustainability. Visitor Studies, 16 (1), 95-110