Professor, Department of Psychology, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
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).
Ph.D. Student, Department of Psychology
Thea Weiss is currently a fourth-year 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 in emotion and cognition as well as theory of mind, and has worked as both a certified personal trainer and as a Registered Behavior Technician assisting children with Autism. The questions now guiding her research center upon the precarious position humanity finds itself in as a result of our technological affordances and conveniences. She seeks to understand the human condition through two primary research trajectories: 1) The technological mediation of nature through Virtual and Augmented Reality, and 2) The human interaction with artificial agents embodied in robotic and virtual forms. As the human relationship to the physical and social world is progressively mediated through technology, an understanding of the developmental implications for such a paradigm shift in the lived experience of the human mind and body becomes increasingly necessary.
Ph.D. Student, Department of Psychology
Carly Gray is a second-year doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at the University of Washington. She received her B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavior from the University of Notre Dame in 2018. Previously, Carly has been a research assistant on intervention projects focused on inter-parental conflict and emotional security in adolescents, as well as on self-regulation in kindergartners, and has worked as a Skills Trainer at a secure inpatient facility for adolescents with mental health challenges. Most recently, Carly was a multi-day whitewater inflatable kayaking guide with a non-profit in western Idaho. Broadly, her research interests center around physiological and mental health outcomes of human interaction with natural environments. She aims to understand the importance of interaction with nature for children in their development of emotion regulation skills and environmental values. Carly is especially interested in exploring the extent to which someone is immersed in a natural environment, identifying ways to measure and conceptualize a "degree of immersion", and coupling this concept with interaction patterns.
Ph.D. Student, Department of Psychology
Sarena Sabine is a first-year doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at University of Washington. She graduated from Bowdoin College in 2019 with a major in Psychology and Environmental Studies. In her Honors Thesis, she found that a multi-week nature imagery intervention benefited students’ well-being. She continued this line of research as a Research Associate in Psychology at Bowdoin College through the summer of 2020. She has also been involved in several research collaborations on topics including the mental health effects of Covid-19 on college students, the well-being benefits of a nature-based positive psychology intervention, and the role of pedagogical instruction on children’s ecological thinking and behavior. In her current research, she has become especially interested in the psychological impacts of immersive multi-sensory experiences in nature. Along with contributing to basic science, she hopes her research can contribute to people’s well-being, and speak to issues of environmental generational amnesia and climate change.
Ph.D. Student, Environmental Studies, Antioch University New England
Chrystal Dunker is a doctoral student in Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England. A former executive director of a regional non-profit environmental education center in southern Minnesota, she brings her love of teaching and working with youth while exploring the natural world to her studies on human-nature connection. Her research interests draw from the theoretical fields of ecopsychology, environmental psychology and conservation psychology and are focused on the therapeutic, if not essential, psychological and physiological well-being outcomes derived from a human-nature relationship particularly for children and especially for those considered at-risk. Her interest in working with Dr. Peter Kahn and the HINTS Lab centers on how nature interaction patterns and an associated nature language can be applied to the design and evaluation of nature-based educational programs. She is fundamentally interested in exploring what having a nature language and associated interaction patterns allow us to communicate to others about the importance of a human-nature bond in light of an increasing decline in children's experience with natural environments and the implications for human flourishing.
Master's Student, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
Audryana is a Master's student at the University of Washington in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. Her research interests are focused on fostering deep and authentic human-nature interaction in an increasingly city-focussed world. For her Master's thesis, Audryana is using Kahn's Interaction Pattern Theory to create an artificial intelligence program that can predict human-nature interaction in a given landscape. In her free time, Audryana enjoys practicing yoga, dancing, and playing with her dog.
Master's Student, Human-Computer Interaction @ Georgia Tech [Incoming 2021]
Amanda Zhu graduated from UW in 2020 with a double major in Human Centered Design & Engineering and Psychology. During her undergrad, her research involvements at the HINTS lab and UW KidsTeam solidified her interest in researching about youths' development, wellness, and learning in a world where technology is evolving and influencing humans at an increasingly rapid pace. She is currently taking a gap year between her studies and has returned to the HINTS lab to explore and learn about humans' interactions with nature during this unprecedented time.
Ling-Wai Lam graduated in 2019 as an Honors student in the Department of Psychology, University of Washington. Ling-Wai’s research focuses on developmental psychology and early childhood education, in particular how child-nature interaction fosters important developmental outcomes. She is currently working on research focused on child-nature interaction in Hong Kong. Ling-Wai was an intern at Taipei Veterans General Hospital in the Psychiatry and Developmental Assessment Center. She also served as an infant-toddler teacher assistant at the Haring Center - Experimental Education Unit (EEU), which promotes inclusive education and facilitates understanding between children with and without disabilities.
Undergraduate Student, Department of Psychology
Yumeng is an undergraduate pursuing his B.S. in Psychology, with an emphasis in developmental psychology. Through the HINTS Lab, Yumeng seeks to understand how development is effected by interaction with nature, as well as fast-paced technological change. Yumeng wants to raise the awareness in China of the importance of protecting nature, and how to develop and use technology wisely, as well as helping parents find better parenting methods to educate their children. He loves Chinese literature and E-sports.
Claire Zhang is a high school senior with interests in psychology and computer science. Growing up alongside technology prompted her intrigue in how increasing integration of technology into daily life often shifts people’s values and priorities, particularly regarding nature. In HINTS, she seeks to examine how nature and technology can coexist in mutual enhancement while facilitating human thriving. Claire would also like to explore how people can utilize technology to preserve the integrity of real nature for future generations. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and watching psychological horror movies (though not concurrently).
High School Senior, Holy Names Academy
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: Saturday, 20-Mar-2020
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