Human behavior is influenced by a combination of factors including biological and social forces but the extent to which one is greater than the other has always been debatable. The “nature versus nurture” phenomenon has outlived many different theories in psychology and…
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From birth or even before the child is born, humans have to learn to respond and interact to different stimuli unique to his environment. One of the primary influences of the society comes in the way of family structures. This is where the first pattern of behavior is learned outside of the hereditary traits. The family, to a large extent helps to shape the belief system and influence other social habits such as dressing, eating, speaking. Emotional bonding can also be seen as an outcome of the family’s treatment of the individual. Parental favoritism can be an influence. A sibling receiving more love may develop differently from his or her less favored sibling (Rowe, 1994).
The school also plays a major part in how the society influences behavior. This usually acts as a measuring stick in determining what are acceptable and non-acceptable patterns and standards of behavior. Through the existence of positive and negative reinforcement humans are guided as to uplifting moral and social behavior and are exposed to a certain way of thinking that should help them to strive toward self actualization. A person’s value system is also developed largely through a combination of home and school influences.
The larger society, group alliances and cultural settings also influence human behavior. Religious beliefs also help to set the norm. According to Rutherford and Ahlgren (1990), “Culturally induced behavior patterns such as speech patterns, body language, and forms of humor become so deeply imbedded in the human mind that they often operate without the individuals themselves being fully aware of them (Rutherford & Ahlgren, 1990, p.89).
The age old question of whether the influence of society is greater or lesser than the biological influences is really difficult to determine. In many cases persons from the same social and cultural backgrounds and from the same family in some instances end up displaying different behavior patterns. In cases like these
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