Professor, Department of Psychology, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington
Peter H. Kahn, Jr. is Professor in the Department of Psychology and the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, and Director of the Human Interaction with Nature and Technological Systems (HINTS) Laboratory at the University of Washington. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the academic journal Ecopsychology. His research seeks to address two world movements that are powerfully reshaping human existence: (1) The degradation if not destruction of large parts of the natural world, and (2) unprecedented technological development, both in terms of its computational sophistication and pervasiveness. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. His publications have appeared in such journals as Science, Developmental Psychology, Human-Computer Interaction, Environmental Health Perspectives, Child Development, and Journal of Systems Software, as well as in such proceedings as CHI, HRI, and Ubicomp. His 5 books (all with MIT Press) include Technological Nature: Adaptation and the Future of Human Life (2011).
Graduate, University of Washington
Finishing his last quarter at UW in December of 2017 and completing a B.A. in International Studies, Nathan is engrossed in the finding of connections between people and planet as well as redefining societal prosperity. Having worked for the Sierra Club as a community organizer he believes in citizen activism, and in the promise of human liberation; that all causes are interconnected and equal. He enjoys writing poetry that touches on desires, self, love, consciousness and critiques of consumptive capitalism. He also likes hiking at dusk, listening to George Harrison's All Things Must Pass album and reading Thich Nhat Hanh.
Nathan was sincerely drawn to the HINTS Lab by the lure of exploring greater meaning for humans, with one crucial component of this meaning being a rich appreciation of natural places, and a harmonization, a oneness with all surroundings. Perhaps by providing an outlet for people to express their wonder of life, in the context of their relationship to parks, they can delve deeper into themselves to forge an existence of greater peace. This oneness might then translate into a reality that pits humans not at the center of the universe, but as inextricably a part of its processes.
Ph.D. Student, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University ( P.R.C. )
Hanzi Chen is a visiting doctoral student from China with an emphasis on Landscape Architecture. She has participated in research projects on Management and Planning Systems of China’s National Parks. She is now focused on human dimensions of parks. She hopes that her research will contribute to a more scientific orientation to Landscape Design, and help facilitate deep and meaningful interaction between humans and nature.
Undergraduate Student, University of Washington
Andrew Grueter is a student at the University of Washington studying Wildlife Management in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. In the future he intends to work to improve people’s understanding of the environments around them, how they relate to them, and also how we view our health and wellness. He is an avid biker, mountaineer, writer and might be the most loquacious person within a several mile radius at any given time.
Undergraduate Student, Department of Psychology and Early Childhood and Family Studies, University of Washington
Cassie Ho is a junior pursuing a double major in Psychology and Early Childhood and Family Studies. Cassie is excited about the opportunity to be a research assistant at the HINTS lab. Cassie hopes to pursue a career that will allow her to combine her interest in Psychology and Early Childhood and Family Studies to make an impact in the lives of children and families, particularly those underprivileged ones.
Undergraduate Student, University of Washington
Taylor Koch is an undergraduate student at the University of Washington, pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Science & Resource Management. Native to Washington, Taylor has been fortunate to live in a location allowing frequent exposure to nature, which has sparked her enthusiasm for preservation and management of natural resources. Taylor began working with the HINTS lab in fall of 2017, with focus on child-nature interaction patterns. She is interested in the changing relationship of humans with the natural environment, and how this will impact future nature availability. She enjoys traveling, hiking, and photography.
Undergraduate Student, University of Washington
Peter Kohring (they/them pronouns), is a senior at the University of Washington, double majoring in both Psychology and Dance. Peter's post graduation plans include working as a freelance artist/choreographer and providing arts education for queer youth. Eventually Peter plans to receive their masters in Art Therapy with an emphasis in movement/dance therapy, and create their own youth/young adult art therapy program.
Master's Student, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington
Elizabeth Lev is pursuing a Master’s degree in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington, where she received her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Environmental Studies in 2016. Her research interests are focused on understanding the deep connection between humans and nature, and specifically how to positively influence people’s underlying values and behaviors in relation to the environment. She worked with Dr. Peter Kahn to participate in a working group to develop the idea of an Interaction Pattern Design Analysis with the use of a Nature Language. Elizabeth also worked as an intern on the successful Save Animals Facing Extinction campaign in Washington State to end the illegal wildlife trade and engage the public with the surrounding environmental and social problems. Elizabeth is interested in developing conceptual frameworks and strategies to address local, regional, and global environmental problems by helping individuals, groups, and organizations embrace and appreciate the importance of a healthy relationship with our natural world.
Undergraduate Student, Department of Psychology, Department of Sociology, University of Washington
Honson Ling is a junior undergraduate student at the University of Washington, pursuing a double major in psychology (B.A.) and sociology (B.A.). During the first 2 years of his undergraduate years, he completed two study abroad programs in Chile and Italy, as well as volunteered as an AmeriCorps member in non-profit organizations such as United Way of King County and Jumpstart, an early learning education program for pre-k children. He is excited to gain valuable experience as an undergraduate research assistant in the HINTS lab with the hopes of pursuing graduate school in the field of psychology. Honson is interested in the relationship between people and nature through the scope of evolutionary psychology. He is also interested in how the definition of nature is changing due to technological advancement such as virtual reality and space exploration, and the impact of such on an individual and societal level.
Undergraduate Student, Economics, University of Washington
Hannah Piatok is an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Economics from the University of Washington. She is a Research Assistant focused on the rich interactions humans have with nature and understanding the psychological impact of the degradation of large parts of the natural world and the concurrent unprecedented technological development impacting that world. Hannah is the co-founder and president of Hiking Club at UW, an organization with one simple goal: to get people outside. Hannah believes existing in our natural world is remedial and she tries to engage with the outdoors as much as possible.
Undergraduate Student, Program on the Environment and Department of Psychology, University of Washington
Yushan is interested in understanding people’s interaction with nature with a focus on minority groups in the U.S., and increasing the accessibility and engagement of the public to urban green spaces. She is working with Dr. Peter Kahn and Elizabeth Lev on defining human-nature interaction using a Nature Language Interaction Pattern Approach to visitor data to Discovery Park in Seattle. She is also conducting several focus groups with Chinese and Chinese Americans on their experience of visiting Discovery Park. Yushan is also the vice president of GSI, a UW student club dedicated to educating the public about renewable energy by providing students with hands-on work experience with companies and organizations.
Undergraduate Student, Computer Science, Applied and Computational Mathematical Science, University of Washington
Ying Wang is a Junior at the University of Washington, double majoring in Computer Science and Applied & Computational Mathematical Science. She is interested in the communication between Nature, Human and Technology. She is fascinated by the unlimited potential and profound meaning revealed by data communication and how natural language processing plays an essential role in bridging the gaps in between human expression and computational understanding. Ying has participated in a UW Honors Study Abroad Program and spent one month in Berlin working on the topic of "Negotiating Identities and Mediating Community”. She worked closely with local community partner Die Gärtnerei (The Garden) to study how nature-related working projects helped facilities resolving refugee issues, and to analyze large amount of data regarding the issue of refugees and their coexistence in the city of Berlin.
Ph.D. Student, Department of Psychology, University of Washington
Thea Weiss is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at the University of Washington. She received dual B.A.’s (2014) in Neuroscience and English Literature from the University of Southern California. She has done research at the Minds in Development Lab at USC regarding pedagogy and the influence of ostensive communication on children, and has also worked as both a certified personal trainer and as a Registered Behavior Technician assisting children with Autism. The questions guiding her research center upon the precarious position humanity has found itself in as a result of our technological affordances and conveniences. In our species’ relatively recent and nearly exponential shift from nomadic lifestyle to sedentary existence, have we lost touch with aspects of nature that are beneficial, if not essential, to our thriving as individuals and as a society? From this notion, she seeks to uncover the cognitive, physiological, and psychological effects of varying levels of interaction with nature upon children. Through understanding the ramifications that exposure to both the natural environment and technological artifice has upon the developing brain, she hopes to discover the potential that a harmonious intersection between technology and nature could offer humanity.
Friends & Collaborators [top]
Alan Borning, University of Washington
Alan Beck, Purdue University
Sybil Carrère, University of Washington
Nancy Edwards, Purdue University
Batya Friedman, University of Washington
Brian Gill, Seattle University
Hiroshi Ishiguro, Osaka University (Japan)
Takayuki Kanda, Advanced Telecommunications Research (Japan)
Rosie Maier, University of Oregon
Gail Melson, Purdue University
Gene Myers, Western Washington University
Carol Saunders, Brookfield Zoo
Paul Waddell, University of Washington
Pat Hasbach, Lewis & Clark College
John Lin, University of Washington
Student Alumni [top]
Irene S. Alexander
Annie Jo Cain
Louise Wun Choi
Janet Davis — homepage, dissertation
Nathan G. Freier — homepage, dissertation
Sze Ying Kong
Rachel Severson — homepage
Last updated: Sunday, 04-Feb-2018
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