The Power of Place by Winifred Gallagher
When people think of their environment people think of their immediate surroundings; however, one's environment goes beyond and further into the psychological connection to one's personal environment. To further explain, Gallagher discusses three different aspects of The Power of Place: Outside In, Inside Out, and Synchrony. The book opens doors previously unnoticed about psychological ecology. From reading the book one learns that settings influence behavior more than the personalities of most people.
Think of our dependency on our environment and constant surroundings. They help create our persona and thus who we become in the future. From the point of birth, people live in a set environment determined on the status quo of the family bearing the child. One may live in poverty or wealth, but from this point the child begins gaining a dependency on its environment. Though not a preferable indication of one's prospects of the future, a good childhood may make or break an individual in the future. As stated, "a good or bad environment promotes good or bad memories, which inspire a good or bad mood, which inclines us toward good or bad behavior"(132).
Each and every day we interact with one another, playing a different role from interaction to interaction; however, one tends to keep his or her surroundings as predictable as possible. The reason being one feels closer to being in control when the outcome becomes predictable, thus, creating confidence in one's performance at any given task. The Power of Place describes the behavioral differences picked up as soon as someone enters a bar or an office. One changes from place to place to create the persona one would like others to see. Think about how the attitude changes as a person enters a bar; there tends to be a more loose attitude toward everyone in the vicinity.
The Power of Place also influences how well one performs not only from testing but in productivity and efficiency. A perfect example of this exist in students when tested in different environments outside the place they learned the material. A student will perform exceptionally well at the place or classroom in which they learn then when tested standardized at separate locations. "The place in which we first master information helps recreate the states necessary to retrieve it"(132).
The many determinants of one's attitude and personality surround a person from day one of existence and, therefore, slowly mold the person they will become later. The Power of Place informs the reader of places and regions that produce different aspects of personality. The tranquility of nature helps to reach the inner sanctum of personality as opposed to the monotonous routine of the concrete jungles of the city. Anything and everything that surrounds a person molds their personality to perform certain mannerisms and certain stimuli to the smallest routine activity.
The Power of Place makes me realize how influential my surroundings create my persona; however, I felt the book only skimmed over the surface of topics that could of been further explored in a longer book. The book created a further knowledge of psychological ecology and its parameters. Our lives reflect our environment; how we interact, how we feel, and how we think depend on The Power of Place; thus further testimony that settings influence behavior more than the personalities of most people.