Affective ecology as development of biophilia hypothesis

  • Giuseppe Barbiero GREEN LEAF - Groupe de Recherche en Education à l'Environnement et à la Nature, Laboratorio di Ecologia Affettiva, University of Valle d'Aosta.
Keywords: Biophilia hypothesis; biophilia phylogeny; biophilic design; Gaia hypothesis; green mindfulness; naturalistic intelligence


Affective ecology is the branch of ecology that deals with the cognitive and emotional relationships that humanity and Gaia establish between themselves. In the last ten years, affective ecology has engaged above all in the experimental verification of the biophilia hypothesis and in defining the two fundamental constructs of biophilia: fascination and affiliation. The definition of such constructs allows us to estimate more precisely the psychological effects of biophilia. Fascination for Nature triggers the restoration of cognitive skills after mental fatigue, while the feeling of affiliation for Nature has a stress-reducing effect. The experimental outcomes allow us to design an ideal biophilic environment, able to stimulate fascination and affiliation for Nature. A biophilic environment is the ideal environment for developing naturalist intelligence. The future perspectives of affective ecology concern the search for high biophilic quality environments, which can be both inner environments, as in the case of Green Mindfulness in ecopsychology, and outer environments as in the case of Biophilic Design in architecture.