The Psychology of Studying – An Examination of the Student’s Environment

by A Guest Author

Does a student’s internal environment and characteristics affect his/her overall learning experience? What type of environment is conducive to successful study habits for college students?

These questions and more engage researchers who attempt to discover correlations between studying and students’ overall success levels as it relates to the environment in which they learn. The psychology of studying endeavors to measure these aspects of academic achievement, which directly correlate to the psychology of the brain.

Though research suggests that a student’s study habits are directly related to their level of achievement, they vary depending on factors such as the course of study and a student’s unique characteristics. Therefore, scientists have devised more detailed research to study the effects of varying environments as it relates to studying.

The External Environment

While learning, students will direct their attention to items of interest within their environment whether they evoke a positive or negative emotion. These triggers can either interrupt the learning process or provide a place of solace where creativity and open-mindedness is commonplace. These positive experiences allow the student to form an emotional attachment to this environment so they can re-visit it for further study engagements.

In higher education institutions, the large lecture hall environment is often associated with crowds and noise, dynamics which many students may find uncomfortable. The small study rooms, quiet and full of functional charm, may be more conducive to a positive study experience that produces results.

The Internal Environment

Interestingly, a student’s internal environment may also affect how a student responds to the outer environment. Studies on human behavior show that effects of learning depend on the task as well as the learner. For example, older adults and introverted students respond more negatively to distracting noises than younger adults and extraverts.

Opposing Viewpoints

For years, psychologists have touted the benefits of studying in quiet, uncluttered workspaces. Yet, recent studies reveal this methodology may not be applicable to all students. For example, some students may benefit from alternating rooms while studying, rather than remaining stranded in one setting.

In a 1978 experiment, psychologists tested how successful students retained information when placed in two separate study environments. Both groups studied 40 vocabulary words, yet one studied in two separate rooms consisting of a windowless and cluttered courtyard and a modern room with a courtyard view. The second group studied the words twice; however, they were confined to the same room. The students who alternated rooms performed better during the testing process.


Psychologists will continue to examine the relationship between environment and study skills for students of all ages, providingthe industry with a better understanding of the psychology of the human brain, which helps to create positive changes within the mind of the student himself. Article courtesy of SNHU's Online College Program

This post was written by A Guest Author

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