Health Psychology at UW-Green Bay

UW-Green Bay Health Psychologists

gurungDr. Regan A.R. Gurung

Dr. Gurung’s work investigates cultural differences in coping with stressors like HIV infection, pregnancy, and smoking cessation. He currently investigates ways to diffuse objectification and sexism, increase health, and fitness, and increase learning. He maintains an active research lab with student research assistants and I also support independent and honor studies.

Clinical and Counseling Psychology Quiz

How many editions of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) are there?


Which of the following is not a psychological test category?


What did David Rosenhan research?


What understanding did Overmier and Sleigram’s research on dogs and electric shocks come to?


Inez Beverly Prosser: The First African American Woman to Earn a Ph.D. in Psychology

Often regarded as the first black female psychologist, Inez Beverly Prosser earned her doctorate from the University of Cincinnati in 1933.  Her dissertation, The Non-Academic Development of Negro Children in Mixed and Segregated Schools, was an important work in that it explored differences between African American students at integrated schools and segregated schools.  Her research looked at questions related to their occupational interests, participation in school activities, racial attitudes, and other important topics. She was one of the first psychologists to argue that racism had a damaging effect on the psychology of African American children.  This research was used in the debates surrounding Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954.  Prosser was killed in a car accident shortly after earning her degree.

Learn more at:


Environmental Psychology at UW-Green Bay

UW-Green Bay Environmental Psychologists

Dr. Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges

Dr. Wilson-Doenges’ research interests involve individual’s interpretation of sense of community and how neighborhood design can foster or break down that sense of community in residential life.

Personal Space – How Close Is Too Close?

When it comes to space, there are terms such as personal bubble which individuals use to describe their ideal amount of space away from others. Personal space is the portable and invisible boundary which surrounds your body and it never goes away. Your personal space is always with you.

Some functions of personal space include:

  • Avoiding overstimulation
  • Avoiding stress
  • Avoiding behavior constraint
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Boundary regulation
  • Intimacy-equilibrium model
  • Protection from harm

How close is too close? Well, according to Hall’s Spatial Zones, there are levels of appropriate space depending on the relationship between individuals. There are four levels: public space, social space, personal space, and intimate space. The closer the relationship, the less of a distance is allowed between individuals.

Hall’s Spatial Zones  

Other factors such as attraction and type of interaction, positive or negative, impact the distance between individuals. Gender, age, and personality traits also play a role in the optimal distance of personal space. When it comes to physical reasons for personal space, individuals require a larger personal space when there is no easy escape route. This is a protective mechanism

When it comes to physical reasons for personal space, individuals require a larger personal space when there is no easy escape route. This is a protective mechanism. When personal space is invaded it results in arousal. When the invasion is unwanted, it results in a flight or fight response.

Watch this video to see people’s reactions to someone “invading” their personal space.


Affordances are one of the theories of perception in Environmental Psychology. According to Gibson, affordances are how we perceive environments as ways to afford us our needs.

There are things in the environment which allow us to meet our needs. These needs can be anything from the shade, food, parking, safe walking, sitting, activities, etc. When an environment meets almost all of an individual’s needs, it is an ecological niche. This would be the environment which is most optimal for that individual.

According to Mariela Alfonzo’s 2005 study, individuals base their decision to walk on environmental factors and how those factors fit their desired affordances. The hierarchy of needs for walking begins with feasibility, accessibility, safety, comfort, and finally pleasurability. Like in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, if the first need is not met, then an individual does not proceed to the next level.

If an environment does not provide or afford, the necessary items then individuals are less likely to interact with the environment. It is important when designing spaces to consider a variety of affordances so the environment can appeal to a variety of optimal levels of affordances.

Watch this video on affordances to learn more!


Alfonzo, M.A. (2005). To walk or not to walk? The hierarchy of walking needs. Environment and Behavior, 37, 808-836. DOI: 10.1177/0013916504274016

Nature is Restorative: The Attention Restoration Theory


Spending time in nature has a large amount of benefits for you. Studies have shown that spending time in nature can provide individuals with renewal cognitive, psychological, and physiological resources. Many people in the world spend a lot of their time inside, either working or relaxing. However, this can lead to increased stress and irritability, while concentration can decrease. This, of course, if not the best way to work and be productive. When we spend time outside, nature can naturally restore us by holding our attention in an effortless way.

Nature can also decrease our stress levels. One study done shows that when individuals were put into stressful situations, and afterwards asked to either walk in the city or walk in nature for 30 minutes. Before they left, participants had their blood pressure and cortical levels measured. Participants who walked in nature for 30 minutes had lower cortical levels and lower blood pressure, which us that their stress had decreased. However, participants who were asked to walk in the city for 30 minutes had no decrease in their blood pressure or cortical levels.

So, when you are feeling stressed, take a walk outside and enjoy the nature surrounding you! If you can’t, research also shows that just looking at nature is restorative! In the meantime, gaze at these beautiful photos of nature and take a deep breath.