A person’s behavior and attitude at any point of time is the resultant effect of all factors acting on the individual. The factors, each contribute in its own way and at varying levels, having a positive effect, a negative effect, a soothening effect or even a precipitating effect. The individual then reacts as a consequence of all combined effects. There are several parameters involved in the development of behavioral patterns including cognitive-social, biological, emotions, gender, person-situation, culture, ethnicity etc.
These factors effect differently, for each individual since the level of perception and understanding is varied. It should be noted here that there may be several other factors too that influence behavior patterns, that have not yet been recognized. The cognition-social perception of an individual plays an important role in the building up of the individual’s personality. Although there is a debate of whether cognition gives rise to emotions or emotions give rise to cognition, the resultant reaction has wide social perceptions.
The term ‘cognition’ in emotion elicitation includes all simple sensory information processing to very complex processing. The emotion – cognition – interaction is the study on the integrative aspects of research in emotion, cognition and the interaction between the two. The complex association between emotion and cognition is analyzed using knowledge and methods from the separate fields of research. Emotions are not always associated with facial expressions. Face recognition and object recognition are performed through different functions by different areas within the brain.
Several disorders like alexia, prosopagnosia and visual agnosia develop when recognition process is impaired. Social cognition attempts to relate personal-social development with intellectual development. The process of cognitive development occurs through four universal stages of infancy; toddler and early childhood; elementary and early adolescence; and, adolescence and adulthood. The development in each stage is associated with an increased level of thinking. Cognition is an important aspect of behavior development.
An individual perceives a situation based on his cognitive inputs and responds appropriately. Thus feelings of sadness, happiness, anger, guilt etc. , are produced as a result of cognition. As for me, I don’t tolerate anyone talking to me in a high pitch or commanding tone. In such cases, I deliberately don’t cooperate, even if the speaker wants to help or oblige me. Gender too plays an important role in social developments. Women have been traditionally expected to perform their domestic family roles as obedient wives and daughters.
They were mainly more perceived to be sexual objects in a male dominated society, with primary interests in homemaking and caring, till the end of the century. This indifference in sociology can be mainly attributed to men’s identity as the dominant social player associated with force of character while women are associated with their weaknesses and passive role. The relationship between crime and gender has been immense throughout the long period of offence observation. Men and women have differing offence rates and offence patterns, both as offenders and as victims.
The opportunities and capabilities of men and women for crime are different, which is reflected in their crime pattern. The sex of offenders has always been recorded throughout the history of criminal record keeping. Lady police officers and corrections officers are also needed to tune in, to fit into the gendered criminal justice system, although their lives are very different from that of women offenders or victims. Women were allowed to take up positions of police patrol officers and corrections officers only in the 1970s.
This too was achieved through several legislative changes and civil rights movements. While positions have been opened for women in the male dominated fields like policing and corrections, women are faced with challenges as to what are appropriate or not appropriate women activities, given their traditional attitude on such activities. The social role of women had been had been largely restricted, although the situation has changed considerably. However gender based perception, attitude and reaction to situations persist.
I am particularly careful in my dealings with women, because I find it difficult to convince them compared to men, although they don’t argue or threaten like men. It has been established by biocriminology that heredity and body organ dysfunctions can induce an inclination in social interaction. Modern researches indicate that chromosomal abnormalities, hormonal and brain chemical imbalances, diet, drugs and alcohol are factors that contribute to aggressive and criminal behavior.
The hormone ‘testosterone’ in men has been identified as the main cause of aggression and crime committed by most men. Several case studies indicate that certain foods or food constituents induce neuropsychological disorders in the form of allergic or pharmacologic reactions which may even lead to chemical imbalances in the brain, resulting in behavioral disorders. Adoption and twin studies too indicate that genetic influences play a major role in development of criminal behavior.
Molecular genetic investigations and epidemiological studies suggest that criminal activity may be genetically linked to mental abnormality. Prenatal disturbances or altered normal fetal development due to maternal smoking in pregnancy period is linked to violent offsprings. Reading deficits are sometimes developed in impulsive aggressive people, which could be attributed to their early school experiences. Here, impulsive and aggressive acts are caused due to inability in discriminating visual information during social situations.
Biology is an important determinant of behavior and social response. Although I don’t perceive any behavior type as due to any specific food pattern, I do believe that group behavior or specific instincts of groups has to do with their biological response. Cultural differences and its influence on behavior have been extensively studied by behavioral scientists mainly during the 1940s and the 1960s. Cross-cultural psychology is very important in understanding the psychological framework of inter personal behavior.
Interpersonal behavior is a vital aspect of human daily activity and is greatly influenced by culture. In recent times, this relationship between culture and individual behavior is more explored through empirical studies rather than historical or philosophical enquiries. Findings of such studies indicate that culture moulds and defines individual attitude as much as it determines our values, our ways of thinking and our social relationships. Culture is in fact a major criteria in the determination of human behavior.
Culture together with the physical environment represent one of the two important external factors that mould human behavior. These factors in combination with internal influential factors of biological and psychological aspects constitute the main determinants of human behavior. Culture is inhibited by both internal and external representations. External representation of culture is seen in institutions of education, politics, religion and economy while it is internally represented through values, worldviews, beliefs etc. All these forces act simultaneously on an individual at any given point of time.
Perhaps most of the conflict and confrontation in today’s world may be attributed to cultural differences. Clash of cultures and adherence to rigid cultural beliefs, keeps up tension between communities. A mutual respect and understanding of each others culture and values is essential for the upliftment of any society. I find it difficult to live a normal life where cultural tolerance is not practiced. I personally feel that culture intolerance is a sign of undeveloped cultures. The individual at any point of time is also subject to a given situation.
It is this simultaneous interaction of the person and the situation, which ultimately derives the behavior. Therefore, behavior can be described as a person-situation interaction, which is under continuous adjustment. Normal or abnormal behavior is a continuous response to the person-situation forces. The attitude and behavior of mankind is influenced by several factors, which cannot be predicted or explained using any particular theory. These include cognition, biological, behaviorist, cognitive-social, existential-humanistic, person-situation, and gender, cultural and ethnicity.
It must also be understood that similar factors cannot influence everyone to the same level. A combination of several such factors may perhaps explain a particular behavior pattern. Although the role of the parameters in the development of the behavior pattern is known, we cannot conclude that all factors contributing to the same have been identified, nor the level of contribution of each factor. Newer research needs to be done on the subject, to determine further influences, given the fact that technology and lifestyle are constantly evolving.