Understanding basic facts about human behavior
Without any jargon, based on research available in psychology and applied behavioral sciences, this article is an attempt to discuss some basic facts about human behavior. Only some aspects are being discussed in some detail.
Introduction Every human being born into this world is innocent. He or she is largely shaped by his or her upbringing only. The early years of life have a profound influence on the child and these behaviors then go on to reflect on things done. Good or bad, most human behavior is caused. Every single behavior has a cause that can be traced to early childhood experiences.
Be that as it may, some facts about human behavior are a) Parents have a crucial role to play b) Teachers and friends also shape behavior c)) Behavior is an external manifestation influenced by the environment and e) Human behavior can be changed at any time.
Parents have a crucial role to play Decades ago, a fabulous movie called "Sigappu Rojakkal" was released in Tamil. The hero was the best actor in India, whose name is Kamal Hassan. It also had Sridevi as his lady love. The movie was wonderfully crafted by Bharathiraja, a director of repute. Kamal Hassan would miss all parental attention and since he had a troubled childhood, he had developed a hatred for women. Unfortunately, the women in his early childhood were also so untrustworthy and all the bitter experiences had a profound impact on him.
He goes on murdering one woman after another. He falls in love with Sridevi but fails to murder her and gets arrested. Sridevi still feels for him. The movie got the hero the best actor award and went on to have a profound influence on Tamil cinema. It was said that many thousands of parents who saw the movie and had neglected their children, changed for the better. Kamal Hassan's acting in the movie was too good.
Yes, parents have the best influence on children. Sigmund Freud who talked about what is called the Oedipus complex reasoned out that this complex is the child's development of an intense desire to enjoy the love and affection of the opposite-sex parent. The male child wants to enjoy the affection of the mother and views the father as an enemy. The female child wants to enjoy the love and affection of the father and views the mother as an enemy.
This theory became the foundation for the most advanced research into human behavior at a later stage. However, all these experiences are limited to what happens before the age of five. Yes. It is indeed a common observation that the female children are more attached to the father and the male children, to the mother. However, as they grow older, the children start reasoning many things and start interpreting the same in the limited framework of their environment. There are conflicts galore when the children reach the teenage and most go astray if not guided properly by parents.
Teachers and friends also shape behavior Since every human being is influenced by the external environment, the second most contact persons who shape his or her behavior are the teachers of children. It is they who have a profound influence on them. The late President, Dr. Abdul Kalam, had talked about a Tamil Brahmin teacher who had motivated him to study. He had shaped his thoughts. In spite of several constraints, Dr. Kalam went on to become the best space scientists in the world.
Teachers who reach out to children personally and shape their behavior are bound to influence them more. For instance, the teachers who teach their children all extra knowledge about relevant matters enable children to develop the right attitudes. It should be noted that attitudes are one important aspect of any human being's behavior, at any stage and at any age. Friends are the most important third set of persons who shape the behavior of human beings. For instance, it is commonly observed that children who turn 18, are bound to be influenced more by friends than their own parents. Bad habits like smoking and drinking are largely influenced by friends.
The hundreds of movies in various Indian language movies also have a profound influence on young minds. The age of 18-21 is often marked by rebellious behavior on the part of most young adults. They find pleasure in challenging their parents. They derive happiness in labeling their parents as "old-fashioned or outdated". After the advent of the most advanced information technology and cell phones, this behavior has undergone a 360-degree transformation. The influence of social media is another big factor on young adults. The increasing permissiveness that is now seen everywhere is one important aspect of consequent behavior. The desire "to be" and to feel "empowered" is largely a cumulative effect that finds expression in behavior that is increasingly assertive and sometimes even arrogant. Parents are now finding it difficult to handle both male and female children of this age group only because of this reason.
Behavior is an external manifestation influenced by environment This is actually an extension of the previous point and the observation in the end. Why do people in the age group of 18 to 21 behave the way they do? They do so because of peer pressure. They do so because they see someone else in the neighborhood do it. For example, the insatiable urge to hang out in the best of shopping malls, just do window shopping in air-conditioned environments and spend just Rs.200 on food is an urge among hundreds of thousands of youngsters who want to see "people like us" in the shopping malls. Their beliefs, values, feelings, and emotions are also shaped by such a stimulus.
Hence, the influence comes from the environment. Human behavior is just an external manifestation of some deep-rooted beliefs and values. Feelings and emotions are also largely influenced by peers. The question "why not?" occupies the human mind most of the time. I have seen many young women argue with mothers on why they should not wear sleeveless blouses with sarees, jeans, and even minis. They would immediately reason out that their close friends are those who have the freedom to wear these dresses. So, why not me? The parents, if they are somewhat conservative, find it very difficult to manage such children, who are now no more children. More often than not, the mothers would have had some values and beliefs imposed by their mothers-in-law, most of them now no more. This adds to their helplessness, as their support systems are gone. Men are also shaped hugely by the environment. Booze, for instance, is shown as a "manly" thing in most movies. This kind of stupid thinking occupies the collective consciousness of millions of men, with disastrous consequences.
Human behavior can be changed at any time Yes. Human behavior can be changed at any time. In organizations, men can be motivated to behave in particular ways through appropriate motivation in terms of economic and non-economic rewards. The Japanese are experts at doing this.
They started revolutions on the shop floor. They taught the entire world that the best of solutions and suggestions can emanate from the shop floor. It is vital that Japanese organizations like Toyota took a big lead in this direction and got it done. It is commonly observed that the Quality revolutions at Maruti Udyog, TVS group, Mahindra& Mahindra, TAFE, Sona Steering Systems and the Rane Group, among others, are the result of movements in Quality Management, spread over a decade. There are absolutely no quick-fixes in such massive changes in human behavior.
Similarly, it has been proved that even the worst of habitual drinkers can be totally changed. Their behaviors have also undergone a massive transformation thereafter. The hundreds of books on positive thinking and the like have also contributed to positive energy and an entire orbit of positivity in millions of people worldwide. This is a work in progress and is likely to be more intensive in the years to come.
Conclusion Certain basic facts about human behavior, that have been proved by advanced research in psychology and advanced behavioral sciences have been discussed above in some detail. In particular, the massive influence of the environment can be easily noted.
The behaviour of a person is basically shaped by his upbringing. There could be some hereditary traits also but they would not be as pronounced as the upbringing ones. The atmosphere in the school, the company of the children that one keeps during the school time, the atmosphere of the college where one goes for higher education, the workplace environment etc - all of these contribute to the personality of a person and reflect on one's behaviour.
Psychologists also tell that behaviour is a complex attribute and it is the amalgamation of many events that had happened in one's life. Moreover, the basic behaviour of a person would always remain the same though temporarily he would appear a bit different in some new situations due to pressure of the people present or for hiding one's true identity. In a relaxed and free atmosphere, the real behaviour would emerge out. Studying one's behaviour is a difficult thing and requires time to understand a person in that respect.