The psychology behind what we consider or value to be our homes presents some interesting concepts. While it is easy to answer the question “Where are you from?” when someone is asked “Where is home for you?” the resulting answer may be influenced by a variety of perceptions of what home really is. A recent article entitled The Psychology of Home: Why Where You Live Means So Much discusses such implications. Read more after the break.
Environmental psychologist Susan Clayton of the College of Wooster explains that a person’s home is part of their self-definition, which is a reason we decorate and modify the immediate surroundings to our taste – displaying their homes as an extension of themselves. It is human nature to want to belong to a place, but also we want to be special. Thus, maybe the suburbs or a rural town that was an individual’s childhood home may not always be the image of yourself you want to project. Rather, it can be common to identify with another place or milieu of greater distinction.
Another interesting concept discussed is the Western viewpoint of home with a quote from a William S. Sax book on Hindu pilgrimage: “People and the places where they reside are engaged in a continuing set of exchanges; they have determinate, mutual effects upon each other because they are part of a single, interactive system” – a conception of home held by many South Asians. Interestingly, Sax is quoted as saying “your psychology, and your consciousness and your subjectivity don’t really depend on the place where you live…they come from inside – from inside your brain, or inside your soul or inside your personality.” With many South Asian communities a home isn’t just where you are, it’s who you are.