"Within a historical perspective on Environmental Psychology (EP), thepurpose of the present study is a comparative analysis between the fourbasic reviews of EP published in the "Annual Review of Psychology" (Craik,1973; Stotols, 1978; Russell & Ward, 1982; Holahan, 1986).It is here assumed that differences emerging from a comparison betweenthese reviews may be interpreted as conceptual variations occurring withinthe discipline and not only as divergencies between the authors, althoughpersonal background and research interests of each reviewer surely in-fluenced their way of defining EP and surveying the literature.Many other important publications might be analysed to promote our under-standing of the evolution of EP, but these four reviews seem to be represen-tative documents of the state of the art of this discipline at different pointsof time of its history. In fact, their systematic periodicity and synthesis aswell as their underlying purpose of reviewing the field for a broad interna-tional audience make these publications particularly valuable for this kindof analysis. However, this choice might be biased in that the reviewers --all American-- mainly considered the literature published in North-America, where in-deed ER was born and is still much more expanded. Thus, the picture arisingfrom the present analysis may put research approaches and topics evolvingin Europe or elsewhere into the shade.The analysis of the four reviews consists essentially of two principal stages,i.e. an exploration of each review and a comparison between them focused onthe following issues: the author's appoarch to the review and its purpose;central concepts used for defining the object (s) and scope of EP; the strate-gy applied for selecting and categorising the research areas actually re-viewed.The principal results first show a common core of some very general con-cepts of definiton of the discipline and some basic research areas. This con-vergency highlights a definition of EP as the study of the relationships be-tween people and the physical environment, in both its cognitive andbehavioural components, from a multidisciplinary view. However, funda-mental differences also emerge. Mainly, the notion of physical environmentevolves towards a more complex concept of "soclo-physical environment" or"place", the role of people is considered more and more active, and a grow-ing emphasis is put on the study of cognitive representations of places. Bycontrast, interest in ecological psychology becomes more restricted. Fur-thermore, the frameworks used in organizing the literature are qualitative-ly different. The connection between these qualitiative differences and thetheoretical approaches to the study of people-places relationships will bediscussed, In particular the transactional and interactional approaches."