Great effects of the external environment on the human brain and behavior are often ignored. This is exacerbated by the fact that humans have been able to effectively take advantage of the environment for easier everyday life. Bargh and Chartrand (1999) argue that this neglect is partially due to the fact that a majority of human behavior is driven by unconscious processes that help us regulate our behavior in the environment. Another reason behind this neglect is our tendency to overlook situational/environmental factors and their effect on behavior. Edward Jones and Victor Harris conducted studies in 1967 that led to the discovery of a well-known socio-psychological phenomenon called the fundamental attribution error. This phenomenon describes how humans tend to overlook the effect of situational/environmental factors in evaluating the behavior of others. Another reason for this neglect is related to the difficulty of environmental studies considering the amount of available information about the external environment. Nevertheless, the external environment plays a major role in shaping our brain and behavior. There are theories that have shown how the environment can affect our behavior. One of such theories is the Attention Restoration Theory (ART), developed based on studies of Kaplan (1995) and Kaplan and Bremen (2010). This theory shows that interaction with the natural environment can greatly affect psychological processes. Accordingly, deductive attention mechanisms are deactivated, whereas inductive ones are activated.
Environmental neuroscience allows us to understand how the environment can affect our brain and behavior. This branch of neuroscience conduct studies in line with other disciplines (e.g. Biological Psychology in animals) by using various technologies (e.g. genomics and fMRI) to find out how much the environment affects the human brain and behavior. Environmental neuroscience is usually divided into 4 categories: 1- intrauterine environment and its effect on the brain, 2- maternal environment and other developmental changes affecting the brain and behavior, 3- epigenetic factors and the effects of environmental factors on gene expression in an organ as well as neurological, psychological, and behavioral development, and 4- effects of social and physical environment on the brain and behavior.