Susan Clayton

Susan Clayton

Whitmore-Williams Professor

Department/Affiliation: Psychology, Environmental Studies
Phone: 330-263-2565
Office Address: 107 Morgan


  • B.A., Carleton College 1982
  • M.S., Yale University 1984
  • Ph.D., Yale University 1987

Courses Taught

  • PSYC 215: Psychology of Women and Gender
  • PSYC 225: Environmental Psychology
  • PSYC 330: Social Psychology
  • PSYC 340: Peace and Conflict

Awards and Professional Memberships

  • Clayton is the President-Elect of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
  • Clayton is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Society for Environmental, Population and Conservation Psychology, and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.
  • She is currently on the editorial boards for Social Justice Research, Journal of Environmental Psychology, and PsyEcology.

Recent Publications


  • Clayton, S., & Myers, G. (2015). Conservation psychology: Understanding and promoting human care for nature. (2nd edition). Oxford, UK: Blackwell.
  • Clayton, S. (Ed. 2012) Handbook of environmental and conservation psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Lerner, M. & Clayton, S. (2011). Justice and self-interest: Two fundamental motives. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Clayton, S. & Opotow, S. (2003, Eds.) Identity and the natural environment. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Selected Recent Articles

  • Kelly, L., Luebke, J., Clayton, S., Saunders, C., Matiasek, J., & Grajal, A. (2014). Climate change attitudes of zoo and aquarium visitors: Implications for climate literacy education. Journal of Geoscience Education, 62, 502-510.
  • Clayton, S., Luebke, J., Saunders, C., Matiasek, J., & Grajal, A. (2014). Connecting to nature at the zoo: Implications for responding to climate change. Environmental Education Research, 20, 460-475.
  • Prévot-Julliard, A-C, Julliard, R., & Clayton, S. (2014). Historical evidence for nature disconnection in a 70-year time series of Disney animated films. Public Understanding of Science.
  • Clayton, S., *Koehn, A., & *Grover, E. (2013). Making sense of the senseless: Justice, identity, and the framing of environmental crises. Social Justice Research, 26, 301-319.
  • Clayton, S., & K?l?nç, A. (2013). Proenvironmental concern and behavior in Turkey:
  • The role of national and environmental identity. PsyEcology, 4, 311-330.
  • Clayton, S., Litchfield, C., & Geller, E.S. (2013). Psychological science, conservation, and environmental sustainability. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 11, 377-382.
  • Clayton, S., Luebke, J., Saunders, C., Matiasek, J., & Grajal, A. (2013). Connecting to nature at the zoo: Implications for responding to climate change. Environmental Education Research.
  • Vanulaijen, A., & Clayton, S. (2012). Free public species naming to promote pro-environmental behavior? Ecopsychology, 4 (4), 1-4.
  • Clayton, S., Fraser, J., & *Burgess, C. (2011). The role of zoos in fostering environmental identity. Ecopsychology, 3, 87-96.
  • Swim, J., Stern, P., Doherty, T., Clayton, S., Reser, J., Weber, E., Gifford, R., & Howard, G. (2011). Psychology?s contributions to understanding and addressing global climate change. American Psychologist, 66, 241-250.
  • Doherty, T., & Clayton, S. (2011). The psychological impacts of global climate change. American Psychologist, 66, 265-276.
  • Swim, J., Clayton, S., & Howard, G. (2011). Human behavioral contributions to climate change: Psychological and contextual drivers. American Psychologist, 66, 251-264.
  • Clayton, S., Garcia, A., & Crosby, F. (2009). Women in the workplace: Acknowledging difference in experience and policy. In N. Russo & H. Landrine (Eds.), Handbook of diversity in feminist psychology. New York: Springer.
  • Clayton, S., Fraser, J., & Saunders, C. (2009). Zoo experiences: Conversations, connections, and concern for animals. Zoo Biology.28, 377-397.
  • Clayton, S. (2008). Attending to identity: Ideology, group membership, and perceptions of justice. In K. Hegtvedt & J. Clay-Warner (Eds.) Advances in group processes: Justice (pp. 241-266). Bingley, UK: Emerald.

Research Interests

My research encompasses three threads, which sometimes intersect. Most importantly, I consider myself to be a conservation psychologist: interested in understanding and promoting a healthy relationship between humans and nature. Much of my recent work has been in zoos, where a wide and diverse range of people come to interact with wild animals. A second interest concerns identity – the ways in which people define themselves. I developed an Environmental Identity (EID) Scale to assess the degree to which the natural environment plays an important part in the way in which people think about themselves. Finally I also maintain a strong interest in the psychology of justice: how people define what is fair and how they respond to perceived injustice. Environmental challenges present an interesting and important context for examining perceptions of justice.