Susan Clayton

Susan Clayton

Whitmore-Williams Professor - Department Chair

Department/Affiliation: Psychology
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 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.


  • Luebke, J., Clayton, S., Kelly, L., & Grajal, A. (in press). Global climate change attitudes and perceptions among South American zoo visitors. Zoo Biology.
  • Clayton, S., Devine-Wright, P., Swim, J., Bonnes, M., Steg, L. Whitmarsh, L., Carrico, A. (in press). Expanding the role for psychology in addressing environmental challenges. American Psychologist.
  • Clayton, S., Devine-Wright, P., Stern, P., Whitmarsh, L., Carrico, A., Steg, L., Swim, J., & Bonnes, M. (2015). Psychological research and global climate change. Nature Climate Change, 5, 640-646.
  • Clayton, S., Kals, E., & Feygina, I. (in press). Justice and environmental sustainability. In Sabbagh, C., & Schmitt, M. (Eds.), Handbook of social justice theory and research. New York: Springer.
  • 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., & *Kilinc, 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.

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.