Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Holly Urwin 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

My years at IADT have allowed me to develop a keen interest in environmental psychology. I am an avid nature lover and will take any opportunity to be out in it. This is what inspired the topic of my dissertation, as I feel very deeply about environmental issues and looking for ways in which to solve them. I am excited to seek out further opportunities to work within this important field through postgraduate programmes and even hands-on experience in conservation.

Project Description

My study aimed to investigate the relationship between the openness personality trait, nature relatedness, and pro-environmental behaviour. Pro-environmental behaviour can be described as actions that one takes which positively impacts their natural environment. People who score highly on the openness personality trait may seek out novel experiences and display an eagerness to encounter a broad range of activities or emotions. Additionally, nature relatedness refers to a person's experiential, cognitive, and emotional relationship with the natural world.
In my study, I sought to investigate how well openness and nature relatedness together could predict both private (i.e, purchasing sustainable food) and public (i.e, donating to sustainability focused political parties) pro-environmental behaviours respectively.

Project Objectives

One objective of my study was to gain a more thorough understanding of how personality traits may impact a person's tendency to engage in pro-environmental behaviours. An understanding of the personality traits most prone to engaging in these behaviours can better inform the development of interventions by psychologists. In addition, nature relatedness is a novel concept and potentially powerful tool which can be further utilised to measure and predict pro-environmental behaviours. Thus, another objective of the study was to apply the nature relatedness scale (Nisbet & Zelenski, 2013) to further test its robustness.

My study sought to fill the gap of knowledge in the field of environmental psychology, as well as provide practical suggestions for future interventions with the ultimate goal being to reduce the population's negative impact on our natural environment.

Project Outcomes

The results of my study found that nature relatedness significantly predicted pro-environmental behaviours, which suggests its far-reaching influence. Future researchers may be able to find ways to increase nature relatedness in order to subsequently increase these behaviours. Due to this, nature relatedness stands as a potentially powerful tool and requires more empirical attention.

Openness was only found to predict private behaviours, indicating that personality had little impact public ones. This result was inconsistent with prior studies, though it did strengthen current research and provided insight into the potential role of this trait. Insufficient classification of pro-environmental behaviours may lend a potential explanation for this insignificant result.

Thesis Title

Exploring the relationship between Openness, Nature Relatedness, and Pro-environmental Behaviour